Vail School Board member seeks to challenge Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy

The lone Republican on the Pima County Board of Supervisors may face a Republican challenger.

Vail school board President Callie Tippett is “diligently collecting signatures” in an effort to unseat Supervisor Steve Christy in the July 30 GOP primary.

Tippett said she wanted to “give voters a choice in their representation.”

“Pima County continues to struggle with infrastructure investment and homelessness, among other issues,” Tippett said. “Bringing together government, businesses, non government organizations and community members will develop community led solutions that will bring about prosperity for all in Pima County.”

Tippett also works as director of development and community outreach for the Greater Vail Community ReSources, a nonprofit that provides assistance for Vail families, and founded and coached in a Vail-area youth basketball league.

She has until Monday, April 1, to gather 222 valid signatures from District 4 Republicans and independents to make the ballot.

“I am late in making this decision and I have my work cut out for me,” Tippett said.

Tippett has also filed a statement of interest in running for another term on the Vail Unified School District Governing Board.

Christy, who is seeking a third term representing District 4, said he knew Tippett and her husband, MaRico, from their work with the school district, the Vail Chamber of Commerce and the Vail incorporation effort.

“I got to know them both, I thought, pretty well and this came out of the blue and I have no one understanding why she’s running,” Christy said.

The winner of the GOP primary could face a challenge in the Nov. 5 general election from Democrat Vanessa Bechtol, who entered the race earlier this month.

Bechtol works as vice president of strategic initiatives at Visit Tucson. She previously headed up the Santa Cruz Heritage Alliance. The organization successfully lobbied Congress to designate the federal Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area in the Santa Cruz watershed in 2019.

Bechtol said she was in the race “because I love my community and the prospect of engaging with them and working collaboratively to get things done appeals to me. We can do a lot more to move Pima County forward with more collaboration among the Board of Supervisors. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and putting in the hard work on behalf of District 4.”

Bechtol must deliver a minimum of 222 valid signatures from District 4 Democrats and independents on nominating petitions by April 1.

Christy said wasn’t worried about the challenges.

“I’m very confident that I’ll prevail in both elections,” he said.

District 4 includes Tucson’s East Side, Mount Lemmon, Vail, Saguaro National Park East, Green Valley, Corona de Tucson and the La Cienega National Conservation Area. It’s Pima County’s only GOP-leaning district, with 36 percent of voters registered with the GOP, 31 percent registered with the Democratic and 33 percent registered with neither party.

Christy won reelection in 2000 with 55 percent of the vote against Democrat Steve Diamond in the general election. He won his primary race with 64 percent of the vote.