Republicans thrashed in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. — Voters here dealt the right wing a stinging defeat in the Nov. 8 city election, in keeping with what appeared to be a nationwide voter rebuff to the GOP.

Republican incumbents Kathleen Dunbar and Fred Ronstadt were soundly thrashed at the polls by Democrats Karin Uhlich and Nina Trasoff, who garnered 61 percent and 65 percent of the vote, respectively. Steve Leal, another Democrat, faced no opposition. As a result, Democrats now hold five of the six seats on the City Council.

Carol West, an independent who dropped her Democratic Party affiliation last year, holds the sixth seat. This leaves Mayor Bob Walkup as the only Republican remaining in city government.

The winning campaigns criticized the pro-developer and anti-working-class positions of the incumbents, who prior to the election had forged pro-business majority with the support of the mayor and West. Tucson residents were dissatisfied with a regressive $14 garbage tax imposed on them last year and the reluctance of the Council to impose fair impact fees on developers.

Both Dunbar and Walkup attributed the losses to the unpopularity of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

Tucson will have a majority of women on the City Council for the first time in its history, and Uhlich will be the Council’s first openly gay member.