Gilbert voters likely willsee a mayoral runoff between the top two vote-getters in November, based on the latest results in Tuesday's primary election.
Brigette Peterson on Wednesday eveningstill led by a close margin over candidates Matt Nielsen and Lynne King Smith.
But Maricopa County elections officials continue to process and count an estimated 80,000 more ballots from across the county. These primarily include provisional ballots and mail-in ballots dropped off on election day.
It wasthe first-time mayoral run for all four candidates, as Mayor Jenn Daniels did not seekreelection.
Peterson who watched results come in with her husband athome and on Zoom with friends said on Tuesday night thatshe was really excited about the initial results butverycautiousbecause she knows there are many morevotesto be counted.
Its really too soon to know, Peterson said. I'm hoping that the lead remains. If we can win this outright, that would be even better, but if we go on to the general, I'm ready for that.
Gilbert mayoral candidate Brigette Peterson checks results on primary election night.(Photo: Courtesy of Brigette Peterson)
King Smith initially was in second place, but Nielsen who ran on a limited government platform overtook the spot late onTuesday and held firm into Wednesday evening.
A pleased Nielsen monitored results at home with his family refreshing the page "every few seconds."
"As afirst-timecandidate in a significant race,mayoralrace, it was exciting," he said. "Werenot done yet,of course. There arestillvotes being counted, but I think atthis pointtheres a little lessroom for movementjust based on the numbers and votes that are left outstanding."
Nielsen said he is excited to carry the race through to a runoff win, if that's how final results play out.
Three town council seats also were on the ballot.
Four candidates competedfor two council seats with the usual four-year terms.Kathy Tilque and incumbent Scott Anderson held sizable leads over Tyler Hudgins and BusObayomi on Wednesday.
At this point, Tilque and Anderson may win outright.
Laurin Hendrix had a slight lead over Bill Spence fora council seat that carries a two-year term, according to early ballot returns.If results hold, Hendrix willwin outright.
Thetown's new General Planwas approved by a large margin.
ELECTION RESULTS:See who won in Arizona's August primary election
King Smith, who handily outraised the other mayoral candidates, is the founder of a ticketing software company and co-working space in Gilbert.
She campaigned on providing strong leadership as Gilbert approaches build-out, supporting businesses and building a "Gilbert for all."
Nielsen, a charter school management executive, is a political newcomer, as is King Smith.
Nielsen is focused on returning government to a more limited role and campaigned on conservative values. He said he wants to maximize individual liberty and minimize government interference.
Peterson resigned from her Town Council seat, as the law requires, to run for mayor. She has said she would bring the necessary experience to the mayoral seat. Her priorities are job growth, public safety and responsible growth.She's an advocate for transportation and planning improvements.
Joshua Lipscomb, the write-in candidate, aimedto investin south Gilbert, diversifythe town, expandtwo-lane roads, protectfarmers and increasepublic safety, according to his campaign on Instagram.
Thecandidates in the race for two Town Council seats with full, four-yearterms were:
Tilque, who led the pack in initial results, said she was excited, but waiting eagerly for more of the vote count to roll in.
We have a lot more votes coming in, so were hoping that were going to be able to maintain that lead and kind of wrap this up for the primary, she said on Tuesday night.
Tilquesaid she was confident going into theprimary, butdidnt know what to expectgiven how unique campaigning was during the pandemic.She expressed gratitude for her opponents behavior during the race.
In myparticular race, I felt that everybody was runningareally honestrace, talking about their credentials and thequalities that they bring, and there wasnt that negative politicking going on. I was really thankful for that.
Anderson, also in the lead, said he was pleased with the early results and hopes the race will be decided at the primary, without a November runoff.
The candidates vying for the council seat with a two-year term are:
Have election thoughts fromGilbert? Reach the reporter at Alison.Steinbach@arizonarepublic.com or at 602-444-4282. Follow her on Twitter @alisteinbach.
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