Mesa Mayor’s Race – By the Monies

Money is apparently no factor for one candidate running for mayor in the City of Mesa.

According to the latest financial reports, developer/lawyer, Scott Smith, has dropped $70,000 into his campaign coffers in an attempt to win a seat at Mesa’s City Hall. This brings to total $144,162 in fundraising with $80,820 cash on hand.

Also in the same race are small businessman, Rex Griswold and Claudia Walters. Griswold resigned from his seat on the council last fall in order to run for the position in accordance with Arizona’s resign to run law. Walters continues to serve on the council only because she announced her bid after the beginning of the new year.

Prior to the latest reporting, Griswold’s led fundraising efforts and reflecting broad support from city and community leaders. His latest report indicates that he has raised $79,823 with $51,766 cash on hand. Griswold and his family also loaned and contributed to his campaign a combined total of $17,710.

Claudia Walters’ financial reporting trailed Griswold’s lead by just over $27,000. Her latest campaign reports that she has raised a total of $52,385 with $39,711 cash on hand. Walters loaned her campaign $100.

But with Smith now putting another $70,000 into his campaign (Smith has loaned a total of $80,000 to his campaign), both Griswold and Walters’ fundraising has been eclipsed by the former developer/lawyer’s personal monies.

According to the City of Mesa’s charter, the position of Mayor only pays $33,600/year. Mesa’s mayors serve a four-year term so the total compensation over that period would add up to be $134,400 plus expenses.

For anyone looking at this race from the perspective of a return on investment, Smith is already running at a loss. And the perception is that Smith is spending a lot of his own money to buy the mayor’s seat.

Despite campaign finance records being broken, the race will continue to heat up as Smith, Griswold and Walters dash for first place on the March 11th election. The candidate crossing the finish line with 50% + 1 vote will win the seat. But if no candidate breaks that threshhold, the two top finishers will face a runoff race which will be decided on May 20th. Early voting begins on February 7th.

East Valley Tribune“Smith top fundraiser in Mesa mayor race”
Arizona Republic“Personal loan puts Smith on top for campaign donations” 


  1. I’ve seen all three of them talk. Being a 40 year resident, Smith states he’s seen what these two have done while in office in their two terms and is scared (like I am) what these two may do to the city if they get into office. I asked him about the money after a debate and he said for him, the money pales in comparison to what might happen if the city screws up the opportunities at Gateway, Waveyard, light rail, etc. He said it’s worth the investment in the city. I’ve been pretty impressed with his story and his business experience.

  2. Leo Leonard says

    It’s very possible that this election could bring a big turnover to the council. I don’t think Mesa can afford to bring a bunch of new people in at a time like this and then expect them to take 6-9 months to learn the ropes! The last thing we need is another developer running the show.

  3. Make sure you check those campaign finance numbers again. You’ll see that while Smith has put $80,000 of his own money in, he has still outpaced the others in fundraising and has a deep and wide group of people supporting him.

    You have to remember that he is running against two incumbents who have been on the council for 5 and 8 years. Between pancake breakfasts, water bill inserts, and everything else, they have gotten a lot of name ID.

    Smith is investing his money to get the message of change out there.

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