Ray Carroll, a Republican, has represented District 4 on the Pima County Board of Supervisors since 1997. He should be re-elected.
The Star does not issue endorsements in primaries unless the race will be decided in that election. Carroll faces a Republican political newcomer, Sean Collins, in the primary, and as there is no Democratic candidate in this race, whoever prevails on Aug. 28 automatically wins the seat in the general election this fall.
Carroll has a long record in Pima County, and, given his direct, no-nonsense approach, has angered some. As a Republican he has been in the minority on the Board of Supervisors and voted against every county budget - but he has worked with the board's Democratic majority on many other issues.
That ability to look past party labels and work on matters that affect people every day - the unglamorous tasks of wastewater treatment, road construction, parks and law enforcement - is one of Carroll's best qualities as a public servant. Carroll is not so wrapped in petty partisanship that it prevents him from acting on behalf of constituents.
In contrast, Collins' campaign centers on his assertion that he is a "real" Republican and that, according to Collins' metric, Carroll is not. Based on our conversation with Collins and studying his campaign website, this tack, and his support of the proposed Rosemont Mine, encompass the entirety of his campaign.
When pressed on his complaints about Carroll - and given that either man could end up being in the minority on the board, as Carroll as been for his entire tenure - Collins does not offer specific solutions or innovative suggestions of how he would fix the roads, change the budget or win other supervisors' political support.
Instead, he states that Carroll used to be a Democrat. That's true, but Carroll has belonged to the Republican Party for decades. (We point out that Republican hero Ronald Reagan was a registered Democrat before he became a Republican, too).
Most residents don't care about purity tests - unless it's testing the purity of the water we drink or the air we breathe. We want the sewer system to work, to know that when we call 911 a deputy will show up and that the streetlights work. Those problems aren't partisan, nor are their solutions.
When the Star's editorial board endorses a candidate, our usual practice is to refrain from criticizing candidates we find lacking. But in this race, the actions of Collins cry out for rebuke, as they speak to more than a political position and go beyond running a negative campaign.
In April Collins put out campaign literature stating that in 2003 Carroll was "caught" by Pima County Treasurer Beth Ford (also a Republican) "attempting" to inappropriately file a travel expense voucher. It's not true, and Collins knows it. Yet he persists in trying to spin it and uses words, like "caught," that imply Carroll tried to cheat.
In reality, as clearly explained by Ford and Carroll, he turned in a voucher for a per diem but didn't attach his expense receipts. She kicked it back to him, he attached the required paperwork and she cut the check. This does not rise to the level of being "caught."
Ford sent a letter to Collins demanding that he remove the statements from his materials. Collins said he did so out of respect for Ford. An upstanding candidate would have removed the statement because it is false.
Ray Carroll knows his district, knows the people of District 4 and is their advocate. We do not always agree with his positions, but we do not doubt his commitment to effective representation.
The Star endorses Ray Carroll in the Republican primary on Aug. 28.
Arizona Daily Star
District 4 includes Green Valley, Vail, Corona de Tucson, Mount Lemmon and the Tanque Verde Valley.