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Democrats Cunningham, Santa Cruz, Lee win Tucson City Council seats

Democrats Cunningham, Santa Cruz, Lee win Tucson City Council seats

From the 2019 election results: Regina Romero becomes Tucson's first Latina mayor, 'Sanctuary city' initiative rejected series
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Democrats swept the three Tucson City Council seats up for grabs in Tuesday's elections.

Voters gave two-term incumbent Paul Cunningham another four years representing Ward 2 and two newcomers — University of Arizona adjunct instructor Lane Santa Cruz in Ward 1, and Raytheon employee Nikki Lee in Ward 4 — won their races.

All three council candidates had significant leads over their Republican and Green Party rivals with an unknown number of ballots still to be counted.

Voter turnout is estimated to be about 33% in the all mail-in election.

Democrat Regina Romero was also elected as Tucson mayor.

Ward 1

In the race to replace Romero on the council, Santa Cruz easily defeated Republican Sam Nagy and Green Party candidate Matthew Smith.

A former staffer in Romero’s Ward 1 office, the political newcomer raised nearly $130,000 in a mix of private donations and the city’s matching funds.

Santa Cruz’s platform focused on affordable housing, education and job-training programs for young adults.

Nagy, a health-care worker, focused his message on improving core city services by calling for increased staffing in the police and the fire departments, more money for road repair and cleaning up city parks.

Ward 2

Incumbent Cunningham, a teacher in the Tucson Unified School District, easily won re-election. Cunningham focused his campaign on his accomplishments in his east-side ward as well as talking about his vision to make Golf Links and a high-speed east west corridor.

Republican Ewart Williams, an Uber driver, struggled to find his footing in the nearly year-long campaign to unseat the politically connected Cunningham. Green candidate William Peterson was also in the race.

Williams largely relied on political signs and fliers paid for by the Pima County Republican Party that touted the slate of GOP candidates running for council — Williams, Nagy and former TUSD school board member Michael Hicks.

Ward 4

Lee had a significant lead over Hicks in unofficial results.

Fundraising also played a role in the race to replace retiring Councilwoman Shirley Scott.

The nearly $80,000 raised by Lee helped to pay for consultants, campaign staff and glossy mailers. By comparison, Hicks raised $13,445 and nearly half was spent on target radio ads. Green candidate Cara Bissell was also in the race.

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La historia de las tribus indígenas, del menosprecio y abuso de los trabajadores, la lucha de generaciones para que en la escuela escuela hubiera maestros mexicoamericanos y bilingües "y que no se nos vea como de segunda clase", son los motores de Lane Santa Cruz, futura regidora de Tucsón.

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