Yesterday’s Oro Valley election was a serious rout. Democrat Barry Gillaspie beat Republican Terry Parish by a wide margin. The vote count was 5,544 for Gillaspie and 3,266 for Parish with almost 34% turnout. In the primary Parish was slightly ahead of Gillaspie 3,757 to 3,415. These numbers are astounding given the voter registration numbers in Oro Valley, 11,596 Republicans, 6,856 Democrats, and 6,636 other.
Clearly Parish was not able to use party registration to his advantage. His position in favor of the most expensive option for the Naranja Town Site would have meant higher taxes. Gillaspie favors the simpler approach to the park. The style of the two could not have been different. Engaging Parish in conversation involved a lot of listening. On the hand Gillaspie is good at listening and even if he disagrees will hear you out. Voters are still not happy about the Oro Valley Marketplace tax incentives that resulted in attracting a Wal-Mart to the area. Parish had supported the incentives for the Vestar development.
The voting does not have much significance on other state or national elections because the local nature of the issue. Parish did not campaign as a social or fiscal conservative so voters were not judging the value of those issues. When the newly elected council members are sworn in there will be 3 Republican, 3 Democrats, and one Independent in an overwhelmingly Republican town. Truly politics is local in this case.
The Pima County Republican Party did not get much return on their $1,500 contribution to Parish’s campaign. The Democrats donated to both Latas and Gillaspie. Barry certainly did well for the modest amount of money he spent. A few weeks ago the Parish campaign teemed up with the Tim Bee and Vic Williams campaigns to walk Oro Valley. They may want to shift strategy before the elections in September and November.