What is Peggy Neely afraid of?

CONTACT: Michael Marshall

PHOENIX, AZ (August 9) – A rare consensus was reached by media pundits, Democratic and Republican leaders this past week. Under the bipartisan agreement, all determined that Jennifer Wright, Republican candidate for Mayor of Phoenix, should be included in the prime-time KPHO televised debated hosted by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on August 15 along with all candidates who have qualified to be on the August ballot.

Chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party Rob Haney issued a press release calling on the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce to reconsider their decision which excludes two qualified Republican candidates from the debate. According to Haney, “The Chamber leaves us with the impression that they are limiting the participants to financially well-connected councilmen and a lobbyist to the exclusion of two new faces to the political scene.”

On a widely respected Sunday morning talk show, Sunday Squareoff, well-known political pundit Chris Herstam declared “[Her exclusion] is ridiculous… money has determined who is in that debate, that is absurd. All six qualified for the ballot, got their signatures, they all six should be in that debate. I don’t know what the Phoenix Chamber is thinking.” Agreeing with Herstam, former Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes added that she was shocked by the “dearth of coverage in this race.”

The GPCC appears to be sticking to their “foolish consistency” responding to a Facebook inquiry about debate participants on Monday, August 8th, that “Wes Gullett, Claude Mattox, Peggy Neely and Greg Stanton are participating. Unfortunately, Anna Brennan and Jennifer Wright did not meet all of our set criteria.”

Three of the four candidates in the debate have made public statements that they welcome the inclusion of Wright. The only candidate who appears to be against it is Peggy Neely. With Wright gaining in the polls on Neely, Neely is certainly feeling the pressure of Wright, who appears to be poised to overtake second place for a coveted slot in the November run-off. One would have to ponder if Neely isn’t afraid that Wright’s inclusion in the debate would end Neely’s political career.

“The citizens of Phoenix deserve to hear from all qualified candidates and make an informed decision when voting in the Phoenix Mayor’s race,” Wright stated. “The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s exclusion of qualified, and serious candidates because of arbitrary fundraising goals highlights the pervasive problem of money in politics. As an outsider, I am working hard to fight against these vested political interests and take away the power of the purse in influencing politics. I am hopeful that the Chamber will reconsider their decision.”

Wright entered the race on May 6, just weeks before 1500 signatures were due to qualify Wright for the ballot. In three short weeks, Wright was able to gather over 3500 signatures with the help of over 300 volunteers. In the past three months, Wright has gone from a virtual unknown, to a top contender in the Phoenix Mayor’s race – proving her viability. Early voting has begun, with the polls closing on August 30.



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