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Thu, April 09

Rothrock by a whisker<br><i>Challenger wins city election by one vote</i>

File photo

BOB ROTHROCK led incumbent Karen Pfeifer by one vote in the unofficial county Tuesday.

This week, he is living proof of that lesson.

“As a social studies teacher, I’m overjoyed,” Rothrock said Wednesday. “You teach students that every vote counts and now we’ve had an election that proves that.”

That’s his hope, anyway.

Unofficial results of Cottonwood’s Tuesday general election show Rothrock winning the single remaining seat on the city council by a one-vote margin over longtime incumbent Karen Pfeifer.

Those results have Rothrock leading Pfeifer by a 291-290 margin in an election that saw only 15.13 percent of the city’s registered voters casting ballots. In the March primary, only 15.75 percent of the city’s voters cast ballots.

Rothrock called the turnout disappointing. Pfeifer described it as “pitiful.”

Both candidates say they are now in a waiting game in the event a recount takes place.

“I’ve talked to numerous people this morning,” Pfeifer said Wednesday, “and they prefer — the attorneys and other people in government — prefer to have a recount when it is this close.”

A day later, Pfeifer said she had mixed emotions about a recount.

“I don’t want to come across as a poor loser,” she said Thursday. “My biggest concern about a recount is money and time. I just want to get on with business. I want the city to go forward.”

Besides, she said, she feels confident that even if she indeed comes up on the short end of the count that she will be appointed to the council seat vacated by Scott Miskiel in January.

Rothrock likewise said he has mixed feelings about a recount.

“I certainly want an accurate count,” he said late Wednesday afternoon.“But, if a recount changes the original result, do we have another recount of the recount? Where does it end?

“I’m waiting to start celebrating.”

Rothrock did express aggravation at the 11th-hour campaign efforts on Pfeifer’s behalf by the Sedona-Verde Valley Firemen’s Association, especially when they never spoke to him about his political platform.

“I think the firemen made it close,” he said. “Firemen are respected people in the community.”

Rothrock said the firemen were especially visible over the weekend, passing out information concerning Pfeifer in front of local grocery stores, and on election day stationed across the street from the polling place at the Cottonwood Civic Center.

“They were doing it as an employees association, which I realize is not illegal. I told them I was disappointed they would choose to do that without even talking to me,” said Rothrock.

Fire Chief Mike Casson emphasized that the firemen were campaigning on Pfeifer’s behalf on their own time and not all of them were members of the Cottonwood Fire Department.

“That is their right as citizens to campaign for the candidate of their choice,” the chief explained. “They did not represent the fire department.”

Thursday morning, City Clerk Marianne Jimenez said her research does not identify any legal mandate for municipalities to have a recount in an election this close.

“The statutes just address state and county elections,” she said.

Jimenez said Pfeifer or any member of the public would have to contest the election in Yavapai County Superior Court to force a recount.

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