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Carefree, Cave Creek elect mayors and Councilmembers


Tara Alatorre

NORTH VALLEY – Ernie Bunch clinched the Cave Creek mayoral seat, which has been occupied since 1999 by the town’s first citizens-elected and current, Mayor Vincent Francia, receiving over 57 percent of vote in the primary elections last week, according the Maricopa County Recorder’s office.

The towns of Carefree and Cave Creek each had six council member seats and the mayoral seats open in the primary elections last Tuesday, although the Carefree mayoral seat was uncontested with the only candidate the incumbent, Mayor Les Peterson. There were also two voter referendum initiatives presented to Cave Creek voters: proposition 491, which would extends and alternative expenditure limit for the town, and proposition 492, which would approve the 2016 town general plan.

Over 63 percent of Cave Creek voters rejected proposition 492, essentially vetoing the 2016 general plan that the town council approved. The rejection of prop 492 means Cave Creek will keep the current 2005 general plan in effect until a new “growing smarter,” compliant plan is presented and approved by the voters, according the town’s election page on its website.

Proposition 491 passed by only five percentage points, with 52 percent of Cave Creek voters in favor of establishing an alternative expenditure limitation, replacing the state-imposed limitation for the next four years with a home rule option.

The home-rule option, which will go into effect if it passes during the general election this November, would allow the town council to determine the town’s expenditure limitation each fiscal year allowing more flexibility for the town.

The primary nominee election results for the six Cave Creek town council seats were: David Smith with 11.89% of the vote, Mary Elrod with 11.56 percent of the vote, Thomas McGuire with 11.45 percent of the vote, Susan Clancy with 10.8 percent of the vote, Eileen Wright with 10.32 percent of the vote, and Ron Sova with 9.99 percent of the vote, according to the County Recorder.

With current Mayor Francia retiring from his role as Mayor this year, the primary election result for the mayoral seat race in Cave Creek were: Ernie Bunch 57.41 percent of the vote, Janelle Smith-Haff with 21.59 percent of the vote, and Anna Marsolo with 21 percent of the vote, according to the County Recorder.

Only six candidates ran for the six open seats on the Carefree Town Council and the primary election results were: John Crane with 17.35 percent of the vote, Cheryl Kroyer with 17.26 percent of the vote, Jim Van Allen with 16.54 percent of the vote, Mike Farrar with 16.38 percent of the vote, Gene Orrico with 16.34 percent of the vote, and Michael Krahe with 16.13 percent of the vote, according to the County Recorder.

Mayor Les Peterson’s seat went uncontested, winning 100 percent of Carefree voters, according to the Maricopa County Recorder.