Phoenix election results: Republicans prepare to retake Phoenix

Yesterday, the City of Phoenix wrapped up its first round of elections by finalizing who will fill at least three council seats.

(See Results)

Former State Senator, Jim Waring and current councilmen, Bill Gates and Michael Nowakowski easily won their primaries with Waring overcoming interim councilman Bryan Jeffries and Gates fending off a challenge by Steven Gross. Both districts traditionally elect Republicans but in District 7, Democrat Michael Nowakowski won handily against conservative populist challenger, Janet Contreras.

In District 1, it appears that incumbent Thelda Williams may hold on to the 50% plus one votes to win re-election from newcomer conservative challenger, Eric Frederick. Frederick’s supporters are holding out hope that uncounted ballots will deprive Williams the 50% plus one margin for Frederick to continue into a runoff election against her. Ballots will continue to be counted with an unofficial final result announced Friday.

Union-supported Democrat Daniel Valuenzuela may have anchored 42% of the vote in Council District Five but he most certainly will face a runoff against either Republicans Brenda Sperduti or Eric Sloan. At last count, only 27 votes separated both Republicans with Sperduti holding the lead. Tea Party activists had high hopes for Charlie Ellis who finished in 4th place.

But the real excitement occurred in the Phoenix Mayor’s race where Democrat Greg Stanton won almost 38% of the vote. Grouped behind him were five Republicans who combined, secured the remaining 62% of the vote. Republican Wes Gullett captured the highest number of votes at 20.54% guaranteeing him a spot in the runoff election. Following Gullett, were former councilmen Peggy Neely and Claude Mattox. Tea Party candidate, Jennifer Wright, who entered the race at the last minute finished with 11.47% of the vote with unknown Anna Brennan finishing last with almost 5% of the vote.

Republicans now have clear choices in the runoff election to be held in November with Wes Gullett at the head of the ticket. (Incidentally, I believe we broke the story of Wes Gullett entering the mayor’s race right here on Sonoran Alliance.)

Greg Stanton is known as a progressive San Francisco-style liberal Democrat which allows Wes Gullett to run the remainder of the campaign demonstrating a far more mainstream approach of governing the 6th most populated city in America. If Republicans consolidate votes from each of the other campaigns behind Wes Gullett, it is very likely Gullett will be the next Mayor of Phoenix.

Now my editorial.

It’s time to solidify support behind Wes Gullett. Phoenicians cannot afford a liberal progressive mayor like Greg Stanton. Stanton would bring a San Francisco, Gavin Newsom governing-style to Phoenix which would ultimately bankrupt the city. The good news is that Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Bill Gates have another conservative voice and ally on the council in Jim Waring. Should Thelda Williams win re-election (which appears likely) having Jim Waring join the team of conservatives will hopefully put pressure on Thelda to behave herself on votes regarding taxes on water, food and corporate subsidies.

Heading into the runoff set for November will be an exciting exercise in rallying behind a mayoral candidate who is dramatically ideologically different from his liberal Democratic opponent. Depending on who earns second place in district five will may also spark some excitement. Republican Eric Sloan could turn that race into a union vs the taxpayers campaign but a Sperduti win would deflate conservative hopes for reform against the union candidate, Valenzuela.

For those who find their campaigns at the end of the line, don’t rule them out of future political endeavors. This may very well be the beginning for several of them. Politics is oftentimes seen as a war of ideas and their campaigns may only be one battle in the effort to win the overall war.

Congratulations to Wes Gullett, Jim Waring, Bill Gates and the Democratic opponents! Thanks to those who gave it their best effort: Peggy Neely, Claude Mattox, and Jennifer Wright. Now it’s on to the runoff election in November in the battle for Phoenix.

Phoenix Councilman Bryan Jeffries makes “no perks – no pension” pledge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2011
CONTACT: Bryan Jeffries

PHOENIX – Phoenix District 2 City Councilman Bryan Jeffries today issues his “No-Perks – No Pension Pledge” that is a first in Phoenix government:

He has given up all city hall benefits, including the state elected official’s pension that comes with the job.

“These are tough times for Phoenicians. People are struggling with loss of income, jobs and even to make their mortgage payments. I have not taken any of the city hall “perks” that come with being a city councilman, and I am making sure Phoenix taxpayers are not paying for a pension for me,” Jeffries said.

Since taking office as the appointed replacement for the District 2 council seat vacancy, Councilman Jeffries has declined the health insurance, smart mobile phone and other “perks” normally allocated to each city council member. Since state law does not allow dropping out of the state elected official pension system, Councilman Jeffries has asked the City Manager to provide the bill for the city’s portion of the pension cost for him so he can write a check back to the city treasury.

“There’s a lot of follower-ship in politics today. My step is to set the bar for service on a citizens’ council and provide leadership by taking the step to save taxpayer money,” Jeffries emphasized.

Councilman Jeffries has already reduced the city council office expenditures by 67% since taking office. He has switched neighborhood meetings to Saturdays, using city fire stations for pancake breakfasts, meeting constituents during their off time.

“The pancake breakfasts allow families to come, meet their city hall representatives in their neighborhood, meet other neighbors, and I am doing it with either donations or out of my pocket, not the taxpayer’s money,” the District 2 councilman said.

Bryan Jeffries is the only Phoenix City Council member or candidate for Council to give back the perks and pension.

The “Jeffries Pledge” is”

I, Bryan Jeffries, as your City Councilman, recognize these are hard times for Phoenicians. People across our city have lost income, jobs, benefits and many are struggling to make their mortgage or rent payments.

I am giving back all the “city hall perks” – Phoenix taxpayers will not be paying for an elected official pension, health care, cell phone or other “perks” that Phoenix council members get. I am giving it back because during hard times, it sets the bar of leadership to simply do my part and help out.

I am not a career politician and I don’t need the elected official pension benefit. This is supposed to be a citizens’ council. It does not make sense to get more than other citizens have during tough times.

Each Council member and candidate has their own decision to make on the perks. This is how I will lead for District 2 neighbors.

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