Nancy Hayden said she had one main goal when running for the Surprise City Council in District 2.
“I made a commitment to my husband when he was on his death bed that I would complete his term,” Ms. Hayden said.
Ms. Hayden said she won’t be running for a full term herself in area that serves Sun City Grand, Arizona Traditions and surrounding areas.
The widow of former City Councilman Jim Hayden plans to serve out the remainder of his term that she won in a special election in 2018.
“You’re still stuck with me until the end of the year,” she joked.
Surprise is holding a primary election in August to decide the mayor and four city council seats. If any candidate doesn’t win at least 50% of the vote, there will be a general election in November.
“I really enjoy it a lot, but I have personal things I need to deal with,” Ms. Hayden said. “This is the best council we’ve had. Everybody’s committed to doing the right thing.
“It’s just a good time now at the city. There’s a lot going on. WIth the connection we have, and the way we work together, I couldn’t ask for better.”
Ms. Hayden, 74, has lived in Surprise for 18 years. She said there are a handful of issues that she plans to focus on in her final year, including the fight against opioid abuse and matters dealing with Luke Air Force Base.
“I’ve never seen such dedidated human beings in the city,” Ms. Hayden said of Surprise city staff. “Their passion for helping us grow the city. I’ve learned so much. I admire them all.”
Ms. Hayden was appointed to the council in February 2018 to fill the seat of her late husband. She won a special election over two opponents that August when she received 50% of the vote — 3,406 to be exact — in by far the most politically active district of Surprise.
In the last primary election, District 2 had more than double the voting turnout of every other district. City election records show 6,795 residents voted in the city council election in 2018.
The next highest was 3,280 in District 1. The lowest was 2,854 in District 5.
In that active district, Ms. Hayden nearly doubled up second-place Wendell V. Fountain (1,799 votes) and Alyson Cline (1,590 votes) — the two candidates who have already indidcated they’ll be taking another shot at Ms. Hayden’s seat.
Mr. Fountain, a retired businessman who moved to Surprise in 2017, and Ms. Cline, the president of Friends of the Surprise Libraries since 2012, both plan to file applications when they can do so in early March.
Mr. Fountain came close to forcing a runoff with Ms. Hayden last go-around. But because write-in votes don’t count in the vote total per state law, Ms. Hayden was able to barely get 50% of the vote in the primary, which is all she needed.
Surprise follows state law on the matter, which says a write-in candidate must file no later than 5 p.m. on the 40th day before the election.
“Any person who does not file a timely nomination paper shall not be counted in the tally of ballots,” the law reads.
Ms. Cline helped lead a drive to fund more hours at the Hollyhock Library, 15844 N. Hollyhock St., which serves the Original Town Site.
The Friends of the Library donated $15,000 last year to keep the library open on Saturdays until 5 p.m. The goal was to help kids do their homework and have access to the Internet.
She has lived in Surprise since 2002.
Ms. Hayden said she is throwing her supporting behind Ms. Cline.
“I’m talking to you as an individual who votes, not as somebody on the council,” Ms. Hayden said. “I really think Aly Cline is the right fit at the right time right now. She cares about people and situations. We don’t need just a buinessman but somebody who cares about the people.”
Editor’s Note: Jason Stone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit yourvalley.net.