Gun shop owner handily ousts A.J. councilman - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Gun shop owner handily ousts A.J. councilman

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 6:54 am | Updated: 5:35 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Months of campaign drama in Apache Junction ended Tuesday as gun shop owner Jeff Serdy trounced his opponent for the city’s only open council seat.

Serdy bested sitting City Councilman Kris Sippel, the director of a Montessori school, by nearly 80 percent with a campaign that stood firmly on the side of business and was likely helped by Sippel’s refusal to do any campaigning of his own since March.

“It’s just a relief to get it over with,” Serdy said late Tuesday.

Campaigns for city councils can often be nasty, but Apache Junction’s was particularly dirty. Before the March primary, mudslinging dominated the battle between 10 people vying for three council seats — plus two more running for mayor.

When it was over, the city had a new mayor, two new council members and was sending Serdy and Sippel to a runoff because neither got enough votes to win outright.

But just an hour or so after the results were announced that March night, the drama continued.

Sippel said he was upset with the outcome of the mayor’s race. Voters picked his fellow Councilman Johnny Insalaco to lead the city, which Sippel believed was the wrong direction for Apache Junction. He vowed to take most of his campaign signs down the next day and give up the fight.

The comment ignited a small uproar in the city, and Sippel apologized a few weeks later at a council meeting.

The apology was not enough, however, to hoist him above Serdy, the owner of A.J.I. Sporting Goods, whose platform was based mostly on helping business, lowering taxes and reviving downtown.

Sippel said he plans to now spend the extra time with his family, including his 3- and 5-year-old sons.

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