COTTONWOOD -- Cottonwood City Council candidates Kyla Allen and Doug Hulse are leading in the municipal primary with 40 percent of the city’s precincts reporting, according to the Yavapai County Elections Department website.
Allen, Hulse, Michael Mathews, Bill Tinnin, and Jackie Nairn have all been vying for three open seats at the Cottonwood City daises.
Allen, Tinnin and Hulse all ran together in a joint campaign.
The unofficial results as of Thursday show the following:
• Kyla Allen – 1,114 votes, 22.89%
• Doug Hulse – 1,096 votes, 22.52%
• Michael Mathews – 966 votes, 19.85%
• Jacki Nairn – 904 votes, 18.58%
• Bill Tinnin – 767 votes, 15.76%
Clarity on who will be selected to move on to the primary has not been determined as of press time.
Allen was seeking election to the seat she was appointed to in June 2016. She was selected by her council peers to serve as vice mayor in January.
In her campaign, she outlined keeping the Recreation Center in city control, fiscal responsibility and transparency as part of her platform. Allen is a 32-year resident of Cottonwood and graduate of the Verde Valley Leadership Program.
“I thought it was a great campaign,” she said. “It got into the weeds a bit with some accusations but people spoke well and the candidates worked hard.”
Hulse, a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission and 20-year resident of the Verde Valley, was a catalyst in bringing the voter-approved Recreation Center to the city.
Although the results are not yet official, according to Cottonwood City Clerk Marianne Jiménez, Hulse has already declared himself a victor.
In a written statement to The Verde Independent Hulse said that he is honored to be selected to serve on Cottonwood City Council.
“I want to thank all of my supporters for their faith in me,” he said. “My goal is to work with all members of the city council to provide the best quality of life for Cottonwood and resolving differences by thinking win/win when making difficult decisions.”
Likewise, Mathews has declared himself a victor on his public Facebook page.
“We have done it Cottonwood. Victory! A heartfelt thank you to everybody who participated and assisted. I am very hopeful we can restore the financial health and morale of our wonderful city. When the new council is seated the balance of influence will tip to the residents and their demand for accountability. That combined with a new city manager will break the stranglehold that structure has had. Stay tuned for an announcement of our victory celebration soon. Thanks again, I am truly humbled.”
Mathews, a local real estate broker-agent and member of the Historic Perseveration Commission, has been campaigning since October. In his campaign, Mathews has been fervent on social media and on The Verde Independent candidate Q&As about his disapproval of city council decisions.
Mathews said overall, he feels good about his campaign.
“I did this as a sense of duty,” he said. “I’m willing to do it. It’s not really something I thought would be fun.”
Nairn, who previously sought a city council seat back in 2016 and lost, has consistently appeared in council chambers during both regular meetings and work sessions.
In her public Facebook page, Nairn said she was running for city council because she is “not satisfied with the way my tax dollars are being spent.”
She also publicly raised concerns over a .5-percent sales tax increase that includes a tax on food.
Although trailing in fourth for now, Nairn said she is still positive.
“I’ve been very encouraged by the community and haven’t heard anything negative,” she said.