The only contested race in Santa Cruz County local elections is the Superior Court Judge (Div 1) race between Jose Luis Castillo and Thomas Fink. 

Running unopposed are Juan Pablo Guzman, SCC Clerk of the Superior Court, Emilio Velasquez, Justice of the Peace, and Constable Eduardo Huerta.

There are no Patagonia School Board or Sonoita Elgin Fire District Board elections this year. 

Running for two available seats for State Representative – District 19, which now includes Sonoita, Elgin and Patagonia, as well as most of Cochise County, a portion of Pima County, and Graham and Greenlee Counties, are Sanda Clark (Dem), from Green Valley, Lupe Diaz (Rep), from Benson, and Gail Griffin (Rep), who resides in Hereford. 

Running unopposed for AZ State Senator, LD-19, is David Gowan (Rep), from Sierra Vista.


Important Election Information

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 – General Election

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 – Last day to Register to Vote 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 – First day of Early Voting 

Friday, October 28, 2022 – Last day to request an Early Ballot by Mail 

Friday, November 4, 2022 – Last day of Early Voting

Local Voting Centers:

Patagonia…Cady Hall, 346 Duquesne Ave.

Sonoita…….Sonoita Fairgrounds, 3142 S. Hwy 83

Elgin………..Elgin Community Club, 475 Elgin Rd. 

There are ten propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot. Click here to see a full PDF pamphlet of all this year’s propositions.


SCC Superior Court Judge Candidates

Two candidates are running on Nov. 8 for Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge, Jose Luis Castillo (Dem) and incumbent Thomas Fink (Ind). The candidates responded to a request by the PRT for information by email. Some of the information has been edited for space and clarity. 

José Luis Castillo

Residence: Nogales, AZ

Education/licenses/certifications/military: BA, JD – University of Arizona, US Marine Corps, AZ Army National Guard

Recent employment: I work in a counseling agency in quality management. 

Community organizations/activities: I am not currently involved save for some pro bono services. Formerly: Wendell Editorial Advisory Board; the Judicial College Board; Co-Chair Limited Jurisdiction, AZ Judicial Conference; Supreme Court of AZ Advisory Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution; Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee; AZ Supreme Court Publications Committee; Liaison to Teen Court/Teen Court Advisory Board; Global courtroom judge; Courtztour for youth. Tucson Citizen Bond Committee;Pima County Air Quality Hearing Board; Fairgrounds Neighborhood; Tucson Rape Crisis Center;El Proyecto; South Tucson Lion’s Club; Sonora Environmental Research Institute; YMCA Triangle Y Camp; Southern AZ People’s Law Center (Housing Advocacy);Planned Parenthood.

Previous public office/service: Justice of the Peace in Pima County

To what extent have you practiced in the area of criminal law? Family law? Complex civil legislation? 

I have almost exclusively practiced criminal law but have some experience in immigration law, civil litigation, environmental and family law. My 21-year judicial career often called for interpreting just what the Legislature meant in complex laws.

Do you possess any expertise in a field other than law? 

I have held an FCC broadcasting license. I am fluent in Spanish, have some knowledge of Portuguese and have been learning my maternal grandparents’ language (Hiaki). I write children’s stories, poetry and cuentos (short stories). 

Please describe your administrative experience. What are your primary strengths as a supervisor? As an administrator? 

I learned to lead in the United States Marine Corps. I learned to lead civilians as a presiding judge for the largest Justice Court system in Arizona. I streamlined and modernized several of our processes and led our court to institute innovations such as expansion of our web services and preservation of our history. 

Who are your judicial role models? 

Senior Federal District Court Judge Frank Zapata – He has been a role model to several Latino lawyers including myself. Superior Court Judge Harry Gin – By observing him, I gained a unique perspective on how a jurist should be dignified, maintain decorum and explain his or her rulings.

What is your vision for the future of our judicial system: What changes would you advocate and why?

I believe in access to the courts so that those that work all day or do not have reliable transportation can have the same access that others have. I want to see a court that seriously considers settlement conferences so that matters can settle in a fair and timely manner. 

Why should voters support you rather than your opponent? 

I have the commitment and experience to bring several specialty courts that will help restore lives, likely curb future recidivism, and save tax dollars. I will work for less-expensive online forms, searchable case filings history, and more involvement with the schools.

Thomas Fink

Residence: Dry Canyon Road, Patagonia (between Patagonia and Sonoita)

Education/licenses/certifications/military: Law Degree and legal certification

Recent employment: Presiding Judge, Santa Cruz County, June 2014-present 

Community organizations/activities: None. Judges are limited by law with respect to participation in outside activities. 

Previous public office/service: Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C. 1985-1989; Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona (Tucson) 1989-2003

To what extent have you practiced in the area of criminal law? Family law? Complex civil legislation? 

Prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice 1985-2003. Private practice 2003-June 2014 (all areas of law.)

Do you possess any expertise in a field other than law? 

Weedeating. 

Please describe your administrative experience. What are your primary strengths as a supervisor? As an administrator? 

As Presiding Judge, I have administrative supervision authority over all Santa Cruz County Courts, a delegation from the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. 

Who are your judicial role models? 

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Steven was fair, impartial, non-ideological and a faithful servant of the Constitution of the United States Constitution.

What is your vision for the future of our judicial system: What changes would you advocate and why? More help needs to be provided to those persons who cannot afford to hire an attorney to ensure that their interests are not compromised by their inability to hire counsel. We have a successful program in our court that does this, and we are expanding the program due to its success. 

Why should voters support you rather than your opponent? 

I do not know much about my opponent, but I rely on my record as a judge for the last eight years, where I have done my best to be fair, impartial and respectful of those who have appeared before me.


LD-19 State Representative Candidates

Three candidates are running on Nov. 8 for the two available seats for State Representaive for District 19, Sanda Clark (Dem), Lupe Diaz (Rep) and Gail Griffin (Rep). The candidates responded to a request by the PRT for information by email. Some of the information has been edited for space and clarity. 

Sanda Clark

Residence: Green Valley

Education/licenses/certifications/military: 

Master’s Degree, University of TX at Austin

Recent employment: Retired 

Community organizations/activities: I help with Terrier Rescue, and have volunteered for Compassion and Choices 

Why are you running for LD19 State Legislature?

I came to the U.S. as a young musician to escape communism in my native Romania. My decades-long career was a heady experience, but my greatest thrill was becoming a citizen of my adopted country. I am doing one of the most American things possible: running for public office as a clean election candidate and as a government outsider. I am running as a grateful American to give a voice to rural AZ from the people’s corner, not the big business who own the current representatives. 

What are your top three priorities for the state of Arizona?

1. Voting Rights: Conspiracy theories regarding our 2020 election have been proven unfounded, and yet, those conspiracy theories have been used – successfully – by Arizona Republicans to make voting harder. These new voting restrictions are straight out of the Communist Playbook. We can maintain election integrity and make voting easy and convenient. 

2. Water: Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act of 1980 gave us the concept of “sustainable yield.” All Arizonans deserve a “sustainable yield” policy. 

3. Education: Arizona is losing industry and jobs because we refuse to fully fund our public schools and we cannot provide a sufficiently educated workforce. 

What do you think are the top two challenges facing the district in the next five years?

1. The very real possibility of running out of water

2. Falling further behind in delivering affordable, first class education and retaining top notch teachers.

What do you think are the top three issues facing the constituents in Eastern Santa Cruz

County (Patagonia, Sonoita, Elgin & Canelo), and what will you do to respond to them?

1. Water

2. Affordable Housing

3. Affordable healthcare

Lupe U. Diaz

Residence: Benson

Education/licenses/certifications/military: 

Bachelors in Theology; Ordained Minister; Private School administrators Training; Legislators Training Statesman Academy

Recent employment: Pastor Grace Chapel Benson 35 yrs. / AZ House Legislator 

Community organizations/activities: President of Benson San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce; President of Benson Ministerial Association; Benson Transportation Committee; Faculty member at Cochise College Humanities department 

Previous public office/service: Benson City Council member, four years

Why are you running for LD19 State Legislature?

To help the people of my district with good sensible laws. To identify and not allow and remove any law that is unconstitutional. To be the common sense voice of conservatism at the house. To serve the people for the constitutional good. 

What are your top three priorities for state of Arizona?

Fiscal responsibility at the state level; Pay down debt (we did this and want to keep it that way); Prepare for a possible recession (we did not do enough in my opinion); Support rural life and the economy in the districts. 

What do you think are the top two challenges facing the district in the next five years?

Flow of illegal activity from the border.

How the view of drought is going to affect agriculture, natural resources and housing. Economy and inflation recovery; Work force development and the shortage of workers. We need to help economic development by supporting our community colleges develop the workforce. 

What do you think are the top three issues facing the constituents in Eastern Santa Cruz County (Patagonia, Sonoita, Elgin & Canelo), and what will you do to respond to them?

1. Illegal activity flowing from an open border. Filling the gaps of the wall. We need to see virtual technology applied at the border.

2. Economic growth with cattle and wine industry. Offering grants and forgivable loans for water conservation for farmers and ranchers. 

3. Property and farming rights. Minimizing government regulation over water, grazing and cattle sales.

Gail Griffin

Residence: Hereford

Education/licenses/certifications/military: Real Estate license

Recent employment: Real Estate Broker (over 40 years) Current – State Representative. I Chair the House “Natural Resource, Energy and Water Committee.” 

Community organizations/activities: Az. Assoc. of Realtors (also Local and National Assn.); Republican State Committeeman and Precinct Committeeman, Girls State, AZ/NM Coalition of Counties, National Federation of Independent Business

Previous public office/service: Arizona Senate (8 years)

Why are you running for LD19 State Legislator?

Rural Arizona needs a strong voice at the capital to represent the people. I have the experience and leadership skills to be that voice.

What are the top three priorities for the state of Arizona? 

1. A strong economy and jobs. 

2. Inflation/High prices

3. Crime – Safe Communities – Border Security/Anti Drug and Human Smuggling

4. Water and Energy Security

What do you think are the top two challenges facing the district in the next five years?

Strong local economies and protection of private property rights and water rights.

Safe communities/border security.

What do you think are the top three issues facing the constituents in Eastern Santa Cruz County( Patagonia,Elgin and Canelo) and what will you do to respond to them?

1. Protecting rural lifestyles, local economies and customs.

2. Inflation and high costs for food and energy.

3. Border security/drug and human smuggling. The fentanyl coming through our borders are killing our children. We all want safe communities for our friends and families.

I believe in less government, lower taxes, personal responsibility and the free enterprise system. 

I am pro-family, pro-business and I support our Constitutional Rights.