Mesa Mayoral Race Taking Shape and Shaping Minds

Scott SmithClaudia WaltersRex Griswold

City Councilman, Claudia Walters, has made it official and will enter the race for Mayor of Mesa. Because of Arizona’s resign to run rule, Walters will not have to resign her post as she is in her final year.

Earlier this year, Scott Smith, a former director of Mesa United Way, also announced his intention to seek the post.

Because current Mayor, Keno Hawker, is term-limited he will not seek re-election.

Tom Freestone, a former State Senator, will shortly announce his intention not to run. 

However, next week, Councilman and business entrepreneur, Rex Griswold, will resign his council seat and become the third candidate to announce his candidacy for Mayor of Mesa.

Next year’s mayoral race will probably be an indicator of the cultural and religious shift taking place in Mesa as more Californians, Mid-Westerners and retirees make Mesa their home. With the steady growth and influx of non-Mormons into the community, the political landscape is undoubtedly transforming.

Both Walters and Smith are Mormons and will find themselves in a race against Evangelical, Rex Griswold, in a city that is experiencing rapid church growth among Catholics and especially Evangelicals.

In addition, Arizona faces a presidential preference election early in the year which will spark interests in candidates like Mitt Romney. This could either work in favor or against Mormon candidates as new voters head to the polls with Mayoral candidates on the mind.

As the candidates enter the arena, watch for religious undertones to shape the race and perhaps the mind of the East Valley voter.


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