'Humbled' Pratt wins runoff in Cottonwood

Councilman elect receives 53% of vote

Councilman elect receives 53% of vote

It was a close race, but it was the Yavapai College educator Terence Pratt that emerged as the winner in Cottonwood's General Election runoff held Tuesday, according to unofficial election results.

Pratt, along with March Primary Election winners Duane Kirby and Ron Hollis, will be sworn in May 31. The new council, with mayor-elect Diane Joens and current council members Linda Norman, Karen Pfeifer and Tim Elinski, will sit for the first time June 5.

"To those that voted for me and supported me, I'm humbled and I appreciate the support," Pratt said. "I'm looking forward to serving the citizens of Cottonwood. There's a lot to learn, but that's always part of it, and I'm looking forward to that too."

Pratt, 55, is the Yavapai College English division assistant dean who has been in the Verde Valley for 11 years.

He said he is excited to start serving on the council and working toward the things he identified in his platform, such as intelligent growth, the arts, recreation and fighting the methamphetamine problem.

"I am absolutely exited about working with [Pratt]," Joens said. " I think we'll have a good council and I'm looking forward to working with them. I have a very positive feeling Š The people have spoken and I'm ready to get to work."

Of the 5,317 registered voters in Cottonwood, 576 cast ballots in Tuesday's election. That is 10.8 percent. Pratt received 305 votes. His opponent John Altizer received 271.

City Clerk Marianne Jimenez said the unofficial results are "pretty solid." There are eight provisional ballots to be counted and one early ballot to be verified; however, they will not swing the result since Pratt has 34 more votes than Altizer.

"I want to say congratulations to my opponent," Altizer said. "We have essentially a new council and we expect a lot from them. This was the first time in a long time that the people had a choice of different points of view from candidates. There were definitely differences in points of view and the American people have spoken. I wish Mr. Pratt well."

Pratt acknowledged the close race.

"It was close, and obviously the people liked the ideas of the other fellow also," he said.

When asked if Altizer will make a future run, he said, "You never can say never. Considering my age, it's not very likely. I'm 68, so I don't think that's on the horizon, but you never know."

Altizer thanked those who put their confidence in him.

Pratt said he looks forward to working with the people and wants them to feel free to contact him with any and all concerns.

Voter turnout remains low

Tuesday's General Election attracted 10.8 percent of registered voters to the polls.

According to unofficial results from the City of Cottonwood, 576 out of 5,317 registered voters exercised their right to vote.

This was a slight increase over the city's 2005 General, where 10.3 percent of voters turned out, but less than 2003's, where 15.13 percent went to the polls.

Voter turnout in Cottonwood remains to be the lowest among all area municipalities. Over the last five years, voter turnout for Camp Verde, Jerome, Clarkdale and Sedona has, for the most part, held above 50 percent in General Elections.

Some, including Cottonwood Mayor-Elect Diane Joens, believe that switching to an all mail-in ballot election could be the answer.

After the March Primary, where 18 percent of voters went to the polls in Cottonwood, Joens said, "There's just so much confusion, and I think vote by mail could eliminate confusion. I think it is secure. It can't hurt to try it one year."

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