Monday evening marked the deadline for candidates to register to run for city and county office, and the filing period closed with five people vying for a spot on the Nogales City Council and nearly two dozen seeking office at the county level.
Three city council seats are up for non-partisan election: those currently held by Nubar Hanessian, Jorge Maldonado and Marcelino Varona, Jr.
Hanessian and Maldonado are seeking re-election to four-year terms, and they’ll be joined on the ballot by Liza Montiel and Saulo Bonilla, Jr.
Former Councilman Jose “Joe” Diaz also filed to run for a council seat, but it’s likely he’ll withdraw from the race after the council voted unanimously on Thursday to appoint him to serve the rest of former Councilman Robert Rojas’ term, which runs through the end of 2022.
Rojas resigned from his position this month to run for a county office.
Diaz still needs to accept the appointment, which would prevent him from running for a full four-year term in this year’s election. But at Thursday’s meeting, Mayor Arturo Garino said he’d already spoken to Diaz about filling Rojas’ seat and Diaz indicated he would take it.
Santa Cruz County has a total of 22 candidates running for 10 available offices, though five of those races are uncontested.
In County Supervisor District 1, which covers much of Nogales as well as areas east of city limits, incumbent Manuel “Manny” Ruiz faces two challengers: Rojas and Mike Melendez.
Ruiz and Rojas are running as Democrats and Melendez is a Republican.
In another board of supervisors race, incumbent Bruce Bracker, a Democrat, is contested by Donna Federici and Justin Luna, both Independents, as he seeks another term on the dais to represent District 3, covering part of Rio Rico, Tubac and eastern Santa Cruz County.
Supervisor Rudy Molera, whose District 2 includes western Rio Rico and parts of Nogales, is running for reelection uncontested.
Other uncontested races include county assessor, with Pablo Ramos the lone candidate to replace the retiring Felipe Fuentes; incumbent George Silva for county attorney; Alfredo Velasquez seeking reelection for school superintendent; and Elizabeth Gardner-Gutfahr, running for another term as treasurer.
David Alvarez and Ana L. Moreno are challenging incumbent Suzanne “Suzie” Sainz in the race for county recorder. Alvarez is an Independent and Sainz and Moreno are Democrats.
Liliana Ortega and Joseph Rueda, Jr. will face off in the race for Superior Court Judge in Division 2, as incumbent Anna Montoya steps down from the office. Both are running as Independents.
Lastly, six local citizens are challenging each other in the most popular local race: Santa Cruz County sheriff.
Democratic candidates Keith Barth, James David Hathaway, Rafael Corrales and David Ruiz are vying for the position, along with Independents Jose A. Agosttini and Andrew Ibarra.
Incumbent Antonio Estrada announced last month that he would not seek another term in office.
Primary elections are currently scheduled to be held on Aug. 4, with the general election on Nov. 3.
County candidates running as a Democrat or Republican will appear on the primary ballot, and if they face opposition from within their own party, will need to win the primary to advance to the general election. Independents advance directly to the general election.
City candidates who win votes on 50 percent of the ballots cast plus one in the primary election will win a seat outright. Any council seat that is unfilled after the primary will be decided in a runoff on Nov. 3.
Governing board elections for school and fire districts in Santa Cruz County will be decided on Nov. 3. Candidates for those offices can file their nomination petitions during a period starting June 6 and ending at 5 p.m. on July 6.