Latas and Garner are elected outright in the primary with this result, an unprecedented occurrence and a true mandate from voters for Latas and Garner. Dankwerth's showing sends her back to the dugout in shame. Incumbents Gillaspie and Parish are left playing musical chairs for the remaining seat.
When I first spoke to Salette about her campaign almost a year ago now, she told me that her vote target was 5,500 votes. It was more than any Oro Valley candidate had ever gotten. I thought she was overly optimistic—especially given the strong Republican advantage—but she damn near hit her wildly-ambitious target.
I asked Latas what her first priority will be in her new office. She didn't hesitate: she said she's going to be hitting the books hard to learn the city charter and rules backwards and forwards so that she can stop the sloppy and anti-democratic practices of the current Mayor and Council. She's attends the meetings all the time and has been repeatedly stunned and sickened by the blatant disregard for and ignorance of the rules she observes. Her top priority is to insist on proper order, adherence to the rules, and making sure the public isn't shut out of running their city any longer.
I hope that the Tucson-area major media will give this outcome the attention it deserves. This isn't an just an election; Latas and Garner have pulled off a revolution by electing a Democrat and an Independent to the Council in a more the 2 to 1 Republican jurisdiction. Their election demonstrates the power and resonance of the anti-tax farming agenda that Salette Latas pushed to the top of voter's priorities with her canny and long-term campaign plan.
I fully expect to be disappointed by how the media covers this election, however. For a front-line, on-the-barricades view of developments, make sure to stop by the LOVE blog. I've already extended an invitation to Latas and Garner to sit down and talk about the issues and their campaigns in a pod-cast. I have a strong suspicion that they'll be taking me up on the offer, so stay tuned...