Former Pima County Supervisor Ed Moore dead at 88

Ed Moore, who served on the Pima County Board of Supervisors during a tumultuous period between 1984 and 1996, died Wednesday at age 88.

First elected as a Democrat, Moore successfully ran again under that party’s banner four years later, then shifted to the Republicans. Four years after that, the threat of a primary challenge prompted him to run as in independent.

Those he worked alongside and campaigned against recalled him as a good man and a contrarian. Despite his being at the center of controversies over county management (including the appointment of Chuck Huckelberry as county administrator decades ago), water policies, development and a slew of other issues, those whom he butted heads with the most in the past gave him compliments Friday after learning of his death.

Moore first got involved in county politics in the early 1980s, when he led an effort to prevent the county from tearing down Rillito Race Track, the historic quarterhouse track on North 1st Avenue.

That effort propelled his 1984 campaign for the Pima County Board of Supervisors, when he ran as a Democrat and defeated Bud Walker.

As Moore grew closer to the development and business community, he fell out of favor with local Democrats and switched to the Republican Party ahead of his third campaign for the board in 1992. He defeated Democrat John Kromko in that race.

But his push to block the direct delivery of CAP water in the mid-’90s would put him in the crosshairs of local homebuilders, who supported real estate broker Vicki Cox Golder to run against him in a GOP primary in 1996. Moore sidestepped the primary by running as an independent; that November, Democrat Sharon Bronson won the election in a three-way race.

“I think he was brilliant,” said former Supervisor Bronson, who served for the next 27 years after she unseated Moore, retiring this past November. “He certainly was a contrarian, and he certainly made a difference.”

We’ll miss him — or at least I will,” Bronson said. “He served District 3 well; he understood the rural areas.”

“He was always in Ajo on New Year’s Eve, dancing at the Chu Chu Club with (his wife) Maddie,” Bronson recalled.

Former Pima County Supervisor Dan Eckstrom, a Democrat who served alongside Moore for eight years between 1988 to 1996, frequently found himself on the opposite side of issues from Moore.

“Ed and I didn’t always agree, but when we did agree, it was on good things,” Eckstrom said.

He recalled persuading Moore to vote in favor of hiring an attorney to force the state to cover the cost of an organ transplant for a Menlo Park resident who was on AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income Arizonans. The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Pima County.

“We could fight on zoning issues and other stuff like that,” Eckstrom said. “But ultimately, when it came down to dealing with people’s issues, he was he was OK in that regard.”

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who served two terms alongside Moore on the Board of Supervisors before Moore left office in 1997, recalled that Moore joked about rejoining the Democratic Party for his 1996 campaign.

“I said, ‘Please don’t do that, Ed,'” the congressman said.

Grijalva called Moore “a good man.”

“We didn’t agree ideologically but we both shared a love for good books and history,” Grijalva said. “We fought on the issues but he treated me like a human and I treated him like a human, no matter how much you disagree. I miss that I miss that attitude nowadays and I miss Ed because of that.”

Grijalva recalled that Moore persuaded him that it made sense to keep the horse racing track at Rillito Park when soccer advocates were pushing to tear it down and expand the soccer fields.

“Ed was right for a lot of reasons, the history being the primary one,” Grijalva said.

“Ed was a lot of fun to be with,” said Madeleine Moore, who was married to Moore for 55 years. “We had a great time.”

In recent years, Moore had suffered from Parkinson’s disease and needed a walker as his mobility declined.

“That became difficult but he never, ever complained, not even to the last day,” Madeleine said.

Moore had five children: daughter Lori and sons Edwin, Clement, Russell and Cyrus.

Services are pending.