After a few tentative days of ballot counting, Satish Hiremath has pulled ahead and won the contest for Oro Valley mayor.
Unofficial results from the May 18 election, posted Monday by the Pima County Department of Elections, have Hiremath ahead of Mike Zinkin by 30 votes, 7,398-7,368. The county reported all votes had been counted.
Hiremath won 49.9 percent of the votes cast, Zinkin 49.7 percent. A total of 14,819 votes were cast for mayor by 16,116 people who voted; the mayor's choice was left blank by 1,297 voters in an election that also included two town council seats and the Proposition 100 sales tax question.
"Obviously, I'm very excited," Hiremath said of the result. "I had a tremendous amount of support."
The incoming mayor said he plans to govern from a position of mutual respect and intends to include input from as many community members as possible.
"I have the capability of bringing to the council and town an aura of respect," Hiremath said. "I respect the people and the town staff."
He said many town department heads and most of the council had called or e-mailed to wish him luck as mayor.
Despite the campaign that grew heated at times, Zinkin was magnanimous in defeat, extending congratulations to Hiremath.
"I wish Satish all the luck," Zinkin said. "He's got a homogeneous council and I hope they do good by Oro Valley."
Zinkin said he was proud of the campaign he and his supporters ran, and walks away from the election without any regrets.
"I feel good about the whole thing," Zinkin said.
He acknowledged one possible exception — a minor flap over a piece of campaign literature late in the race.
Hiremath was the subject of some criticism as well, based primarily on what Zinkin supporters viewed as mischaracterizations of their candidate's position on issues.
Zinkin said the long campaign had an emotional impact on him.
"It's life-consuming from the moment you put the papers in until the minute they count the ballots," he said.
Zinkin said he plans to keep a low profile for the next few months and continue to work as an umpire and referee for youth and adult sports leagues.
A pair of council seats was up for grabs as well.
Lou Waters netted 8,555 votes, 40.7 percent of those cast, while Joe Hornat had 34.4 percent, 7,244. They win election.
Matthew Rabb had the fewest votes, with 5,117 and 24.3 percent.
Voter turnout for the May 18 election was 61.4 percent of registered voters.
Mary Snider won the other open council seat during the primary election in March, having gotten more than 50 percent of the vote.
The county intends to provide an official vote canvass next Friday, which the Oro Valley Town Council plans to accept at the June 2 meeting.
New council members will be sworn in at the meeting as well.
Oro Valley Mayor Vote
Satish Hiremath – 7,398; Mike Zinkin — 7,368