Barber Losing, Douglas Winning, and Judge Gets Tossed Off Bench -- Latest Election Recap

Several races from Tuesday's general election remained too close to call on Wednesday afternoon.

The southern Arizona Congressional race between incumbent Democrat Ron Barber and Republican Martha McSally was one of them. However, McSally was retaining a slight lead over Barber and some were predicting he'd have trouble overcoming it as the last votes are counted.

The lead by Republican Diane Douglas over Democrat David Garcia in the state Superintendent of Public Instruction race appeared substantial enough for some pundits to give her campaign the benefit of the doubt. With nearly 200,000 votes left to count in the state, though, it's possible the situation could turn.

Here's a recap of some of the other important races, some close and some not:

See also: -Mark Brnovich Called the Winner for Attorney General, but Felecia Rotellini Doesn't Call It Quits

* Tom Forese and Doug Little, Republicans, whipped Democrats Jim Holway and Sandra Kennedy. Republican voters didn't seem to mind accusations that "dark money," some likely from Arizona Public Service, had helped the two Republicans. The rejection of the Democrats was also a statement by the majority of voters on how much solar power should be subsidized, since solar was a huge issue for Holway and Kennedy.

* Maricopa County voters booted Family Court Judge Benjamin Norris off the bench, proving that people pay attention to the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review. Supporters of the judge-retention system, which replaced outright judge elections in 1974, urged the public to take a look a this year's judges' rating and vote accordingly. The State Bar of Arizona produced a short video asking voters to "Finish the Ballot" -- a not-so-subtle hint to give the heave-ho to judges who weren't making the cut. Two judges received terrible performance marks this year -- Norris and Pima County Judge Catherine Woods. Woods managed to retain her job.

* Democrat Felecia Rotellini still hadn't conceded the state Attorney General's race as of 3:15 p.m., but she's likely fooling herself if she thinks she can still win. The latest vote count shows Republican Mark Brnovich with a solid lead of about 75,000 votes.

* Several races for State Legislature remain very tight on Wednesday. State Representative Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, is still neck-and-neck with Democrat Randy Friese.

* In Maricopa County races:

-- Republican Clint Hickman will stay on as a County Supervisor -- he had no opponent.

-- Meanwhile, former lawmaker Steve Gallardo clearly made the right decision earlier this year when he switched from being a candidate for Congress to candidate for county Board of Supervisors. The openly gay Democrat beat Republican Mark Riddles in a landslide not uncommon for the heavily Democratic county District Five.

-- Michael Jeanes has been Maricopa Clerk of the Superior Court since 1998 and will serve another four years.

-- Republican Paul Petersen easily beat Libertarian Becca Kielsky for County Assessor.

* Few competitors shook things up in the Valley's races for Justices of the Peace and Constable. And few close-calls were seen in races with competition, except:

-- Democrat Tyler Kissell narrowly beat Republican Charles Boles for JP in Tempe's University Lakes district. See -- Dems won something, too, on Tuesday.

-- Another Tempe JP district, Kyrene, saw a narrow victory by Republican John McComish over Democrat Elizabeth Rogers.

* In one JP race we were watching, the scandalous former state Department of Public Safety officer Geoff Jacobs was trounced by Miles Keegan, son of former JP John Keegan, in the Hassayampa district.

* Do Valley voters think local schools need more money? Not always. To point out two examples, voters on Tuesday said "yes" to a budget increase for Balsz Elementary School District, while voters in the Creighton Elementary School District said "no."

* School budget overrides passed in Mesa and Tempe.

* The Maricopa County Community College District will see some new faces on its governing board, including former Republican west Valley lawmaker Jean McGrath.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.