/ Modified may 21, 2014 3:36 p.m.

Two Sunnyside Board Members Recalled

Pima County officials not finished counting but margin too wide for 100 remaining ballots to change outcome.



Early results on Sunnyside School District’s recall election showed Beki Quintero and Eric Giffin in the lead.

The margin of victory for each the candidate was more than 1,000 votes, too large for long-time board members Louie Gonzales and Bobbi Garcia to overcome, meaning they lost their seats on the governing board.

Sunnyside Beki Quintero portrait Beki Quintero (PHOTO: AZPM)

The Pima County Elections Department counted ballots from all 17 precincts Tuesday night, with about 100 ballots left to count. County officials expected to release an official, final count by Friday afternoon.

"The margin is fairly wide at this point," said Ricky Hernandez, chief financial officer at the Pima County School Superintendent's Office.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors still has to certify the results at the June 3 meeting, he said. Until then, Gonzales and Garcia will continue to be on the board.

Garcia lost to challenger Quintero, a long time Sunnyside district resident and community organizer, who received 58 percent of the votes.

Quintero will finish out Garcia’s term, which expires December 2016.

Mike Polak also challenged Garcia, and received 19 percent of the votes.

Longtime board member and former board president Louie Gonzales lost to former board member Eric Giffin.

Sunnyside Eric Giffin portrait Eric Giffin (PHOTO: AZPM)

Giffin had 75 percent of the votes Tuesday night, and will serve on the board until the end of 2016, when Gonzales' term was set to expire.

Giffin and Quintero worked together during the election.

“Beki and I and the entire crew here have been walking for months and we really got the message out," Giffin said.

The change in the board membership will mean district changes, he said.

“I can’t say that we’re going to just early discharge the superintendent but we will do things to neutralize the effect that he’s got," he said.

The other candidates did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the results.

The election was conducted entirely by mail-in-ballots, and voter turnout was 15 percent, according to the Pima County Elections Department.

Voter turnout was about 15 percent, with 4,076 ballots cast in the election.

That was lower than the Pima County Superintendent's Office predicted, said Ricky Hernandez, the chief financial officer for the county schools superintendent. The office oversees all school board elections in Pima County.

"We had predicted that turn out might be around 30 percent considering it was a very hot button issue on the Sunnyside community," he said.

The recall efforts began last year after the board majority -- Gonzales, Garcia and Eva Carrillo Dong -- voted to keep Manuel Isquierdo as superintendent despite allegations of personal bankruptcy and mismanagement.

Supporters of the recall have said Dong was not facing a recall because her term expires at the end of the year.

Recall challengers, Polak, Quintero and Giffin said if given the chance they would vote to end Isquierdo’s contract, and end his term as superintendent.

Gonzales and Garcia have continued to support Isquierdo.

A recall effort was also started against board members Daniel Hernandez and Buck Crouch, who voted against retaining Isquierdo as superintendent. That recall effort failed to make the ballot.

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