Unchanged Tucson council maintains control

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's one of those intriguing questions in politics.

People say they're not happy with the direction government is going, yet when they have a chance to change their elected officials, they don't.

Recent elections in Tucson serve as a prime example.

Rio Nuevo, investigations, screw-ups, yet all three incumbents on Tuesday's ballot got another four years in office.

A new mayor will take office, but he'll be joined around the table by the same six faces.

"Any incumbent is going to be tough to beat, assuming they don't have a string of DUIs or something," said Political Analyst Peter Goudinoff.

No string of DUIs here, but something Tucsonans get even angrier about, a murky Rio Nuevo history with nothing to show for it.  That was the center of GOP attack ads.

"I think we got people to understand that this city really has been in decline for about 10 years," said Pima County GOP Chair Carolyn Cox.

Still, it didn't earn the GOP a seat on the council.

"It's always difficult when registration is so far behind," said Cox.

Tuesday's results leave Steve Kozachik as the sole republican on the council.

It also makes Kozachik the last challenger to take out a city council incumbent.  Something that did not happen this time around.

"I think that there were a lot more hot button issues going on at the time when I was running then now," Kozachik said.

One political analyst says to do what Kozachik did in 2009, you need a perfect set of circumstances.

And those just weren't there for the GOP this time around.

"As time goes on it becomes very difficult to beat incumbents because they've done so many favors for people," Goudinoff said.

So for at least two years Kozachik will have to fly solo, but he says it won't keep the two sides from working together.

"I think the rest of the council understands I'm not party driven, I'm issues driven," Kozachik said.  "I think we have a good relationship."

And that relationship will be tested as the same people will try to tackle Tucson's same problems.

The new mayor and council will take office in the first week of December.