APACHE COUNTY — Steve Christiansen was just beginning his campaign for the District III seat on the Apache County Board of Supervisors.

Now he has decided to end his campaign, after his petition signatures were challenged by his opponent, Republican Nelson Davis of St. Johns.

Christiansen, a longtime resident of Springerville and the general manager of the Alpine Domestic Water Improvement District, admits he started his campaign effort last minute, at the urging of supporters in the community. He planned to run as a Democrat.

The weekend prior to the April 6 filing deadline, Christiansen began gathering signatures. He said that once word got out, he had people contacting him to sign the petition. He gathered 137 signatures, but only needed 96.

“It was a real outpouring, it was a real neat experience,” he said.

He filed his documents with the county by the required deadline of April 6.

There was just one problem — the required Candidate Statement of Interest form was not filed before he began gathering signatures, as required by law.

“We did everything we knew by the book,” Christiansen said, stating it was an oversight.

Republican Nelson Davis filed his statement of interest last August. He will now run unopposed.

“If you’re running against someone and you don’t follow the rules, you open yourself up to a challenge,” Davis said in a phone interview.

Davis is a fifth-generation resident of Apache County who works for the St. Johns Unified School District. He ran unsuccessfully for the District III seat in 2004, and is ready to try again.

“I’ve always had an interest in it, I feel with my background, I have some abilities,” he explained.

Davis has run several small businesses in St. Johns.

Both men see challenges ahead for the county, with the planned closure of the Coronado Generating Station.

Christiansen said he is planing to remain active in the community and work for positive solutions.

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