Ray Carroll spent the first part of his evening last night at the San Augustine Parish Council elections, where he had to show up with a resume, picture and a letter of nomination for the council from fellow parishioner Albert Elias (the father of fellow Pima County Supervisor and Democrat Richard Elias).
So around 10:30 p.m., Carroll strolled through the Sheraton into what was left of the GOP fiesta — a half-empty room with small pockets of folks lamenting their loss. As the first camera crews packed up, the Pima County Supervisor shared his reflections on the election season and his own party. Carroll faced and handily defeated Republican challenger Sean Collins in the August primary, a battle Carroll had described as a smear campaign.
Last night's election results, while close with some races still undecided, weren't a big surprise to Carroll. "I watched the campaign closely. There were no great surprises tonight," he said.
But it's Pima County that Carroll said is where he must focus his attention. He had this to say about the races for the Board of Supervisors: "The Republican effort was leaderless" and the backroom effort by independent committees and the candidates they supported "proved to be less capable or likeable."
There were highlights this season, he said. Republican Tanner Bell, who challenged Carroll's fellow supervisor and Democrat Sharon Bronson is "a great young man." It's hard to unseat an entrenched incumbent, Carroll said.
He was also impressed with Republican Pima County Sheriff's candidate Mark Napier, who Carroll said ran a clean and ethical campaign.
"I have always thought that Clarence (Dupnik) had a brilliant career," Carroll said, adding that he thinks eventually the re-elected Democrat will resign this next term and appoint one of his own people to fill his spot. Perhaps that will be an opportunity for Napier to come in, Carroll said.
Carroll added that in this last election he faced, he took a lot of shots from what he described as RINO hunters (Republican In Name Only). That crowd recruited Collins to run against him and criticized his record of being an outspoken critic of the Rosemont Mine project and supporting efforts to provide water in the desert to help prevent migrant deaths.
Carroll said he defeated Collins because he knows his constituents and he spends time with them — like yesterday, spending most of his time doing election work in his district, he said.