QC Town Council race heads to the finish line

A Queen Creek businessman who raised the most money in the Town Council campaign narrowly was ahead of one of the three “Team QC” hopefuls who ran together with mayor-elect Julia Wheatly, unofficial results in Tuesday’s election showed today.

But it likely will be days before there’s a resolution of the four-way race for three Queen Creek Town Council seats for two reasons.

First, it must be determined if any or all of the council candidates garnered a majority of all votes cast in the council election.

Moreover, a controversy developed when Pinal County ran out of ballots at some polling places, though it remains unclear if any were in Queen Creek.

According to unofficial results updated today by the Maricopa County Recorder, the three leading Queen Creek Town Council candidates were incumbent Dawn Oliphant with 27% of the vote, Bryan McClure with 25% and Travis Padilla with 24%, Matt McWilliams pulled 23%.

The Pinal County results had McClure and McWilliams virtually tied with 23% of the vote to Oliphant’s 28% and Padilla’s 24%, In raw numbers, Oliphant had 226 votes in the Pinal County portion of Queen Creek while the other three candidates garner between 184 and 191.

Yes votes were ahead for both propositions on the Queen Creek ballot by a roughly 80% to 20% margin, according to results in both counties.

Wheatley had no challenger in the race to be Queen Creek’s next mayor.

Padilla raised $48,000 according to the most recent campaign finance reports filed with the town – exceeding the $43,000 raised by the “Team QC” candidates combined.

The Travis’ $48,000 topped the $43,000 “Team QC” candidates Dawn Oliphant, Matt McWilliams and Bryan McClure brought in collectively.

Padilla said the issue of properly managing the town’s growth means keeping up with infrastructure, balancing commercial and retail development with real estate, and ensuring water needs are met.

While $15,000 came directly from loan from Padilla made to his campaign, he has brought in some sizable donations from local developers, including a $10,000 contribution from developers Lonnie and Debbie McCleve and $5,000 each from Tim and Audra Campbell, land developer with Finnesse Properties. He also received $500 from developer Jason Barney.

Travis also campaigned on the issue of supporting local businesses and against measures that result in the town “picking winners and losers through subsidies.”

“Our local businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and deserve council members who fight to welcome and support them,” Padilla says on his website.

For that reason, he’s drawn support from other business owners, including two dentists and a bakery owner.

Pinal County officials reported they had run out of ballots at at least a dozen precincts, but it remained unclear whether any of them were in Queen Creek.

The plan was to replenish these, with the promise that anyone who was in line by 7 p.m. -- when the polls are supposed to close -- would be allowed to vote.

That presumes, however, some people did not give up earlier and did not return.

Pinal already was under fire for sending out early ballots without some local races. That required mailing a supplemental ballot to those in affected communities, which included Queen Creek.