Pima County Supervisor Faces First Challenger in 13 Years

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Tricia McInroy
  • Tricia McInroy

Republican Ray Carroll was appointed Pima County District 4 Supervisor in 1997 and was elected in 1998. In the 13 years Carroll's been in office he's been reelected every election in 2000, 2004 and 2008 — all without opposition. Until now.

According to the Quail Creek Republican Club newsletter, Carroll's challenger for the District 4 seat is Sean Collins, a U.S. Air Force veteran who owns the Vail Dairy Queen with his wife Tracy. "Collins was in the Air Force for almost 22 years, stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base from 1999 until he retired as a senior non-commissioned officer in 2003." (He'll be speaking at the group's meeting on Friday, Feb. 17, 9 a.m. at the Quail Creek Madera Clubhouse).

We called Collins and are waiting to find out more from him regarding his interest in running or politics. However, political buzz is that this is what happens when you take a stand against Rosemont Copper Mine. Running what some say is a final lap to a doomed project, so the company continues its efforts to make friends and influence folks with community donations, and now a political race.

Arizona's current tea bag political climate could make Carroll more vulnerable than previous campaigns. We were told Rick Grinnell, a failed mayoral candidate, self-described Rosemont lobbyist, and a member of the delusional state-appointed Rio Nuevo board, along with failed gubernatorial candidate John Munger, are driving the Collins' campaign boat and raising thousands of dollars to put Carroll down.

However, Grinnell told us today that he's not involved in Collins' campaign. Still waiting to hear back from Munger.

Perhaps Collins will take the jobs argument on behalf of Rosemont. After all he and his wife are entrepreneurs who provide jobs at their new Dairy Queen — a business they opened with the help from a Small Business Administration Patriot Express loan specifically for veterans. Although, for others water is still going to be considered this desert's most precious resource.

That was Carroll's argument when the mine's proposal first came before Pima County three years ago when he beat the Democratic majority in defending water forcing the county to get into a needed defense mode. So, Carroll may be vulnerable this year because ultimately he's not a tea bagger?

Of course that doesn't mean he doesn't have those classic Republican ideologies that have sometimes made life miserable for Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and the Democratic majority on the board. The annual process to approve the county budget is a great example of this.

However, Carroll's work to defend the Santa Rita's and the Davidson Canyon aquifer, and at the same time fight for taxpayers during the budget season, have helped him create a wide base of support and he's been recognized for those efforts — in 2007 he received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Outstanding Achievement Award for Public Service; in 2007 he received the Hero of the Taxpayer Award by the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers; in 2008 the Sky Island Alliance Award for Public Service for his leadership in opposing the proposed Rosemont; and in 2009 the Governor Howard Pyle Award by the Republican Party of Arizona for his political leadership in Southern Arizona.

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