Phoenix Mayor Declares Victory; Incumbents Still Lead Council Races

By Christina Estes
Published: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 10:29pm
Updated: Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 11:55am

Phoenix City Council chambers
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Phoenix City Council chambers.

Phoenix’s mayor is declaring victory after unofficial results show her with a sizable lead over two opponents. 

In a statement sent to KJZZ, Kate Gallego said defeating COVID-19 was a priority.

"When others backed down, I was proud to stand for the science and to make decisions that supported public health. We’ve provided the financial resources necessary to keep businesses afloat and directed more than $30 million in relief funds for families in need," Gallego said. “There is much more to do. I believe that if we stay focused on the work that matters most, in a way that cherishes equity and equality, Phoenix will be perfectly positioned to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. We will live up to our promise to be a city that works for all of us.” 

Gallego will lay out her vision during her State of the City Address on Nov. 17. Phoenix voters are also choosing half the City Council seats. Runoff elections look likely for Districts 3 and 7 because no candidate has received more than 50% of the vote.

On election night, Gallego told KJZZ that Phoenix has faced four crises this year: COVID-19, economic challenges, racial and social equity, and climate change.

“They will all continue to be challenges but I feel like Phoenix is well positioned to address them and come out of 2020 as a leading American city,” she said.

Gallego said economic development remains a priority. In May, Phoenix celebrated what could be the city’s biggest deal when a Taiwan-based silicon chip maker announced plans to build a $12 billion semiconductor facility in a yet to be announced Phoenix location. 

Based on the votes announced as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Gallego had 64%, Hamilton had 24% and Seay had 12%.

Voters will also decide half of the city’s eight council seats. The two incumbents — Debra Stark in District 3 and Betty Guardado in District 5 — are leading. 

Shortly before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Guardado claimed victory and issued the following statement:

“We did it! This win tonight belongs to the people of Phoenix’s 5th District. It belongs to my District office team who have set the standard of exceptional constituent services that helped gain the trust of this community. It belongs to my campaign team, who talked to over 12,000 voters across the District. But most importantly, it belongs to our neighborhood leaders and our neighborhoods. As I have said many times during the campaign, we fit four years of work into one! Now that I have a full four year term, I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.”

Earlier that night her opponents sent the following statements to KJZZ:

Andre Williams said, “Congrats to Betty Guardado,  it appears she will take Phoenix District 5. My advice for Betty would be to always ensure key stakeholders, those affected by policy, are included in the process.” 

Nathan Schick said, "From the early results, it seems clear that District 5 voters have chosen Councilwoman Betty Guardado to continue representing us at Phoenix City Council. I'd like to congratulate her on a successful re-election campaign.” 

In District 3, Stark had 50% of the votes that were announced by 10:15 p.m. In all races the winner must get 50% of votes plus one. If no one receives 50% plus one vote then a runoff election will be held for the top two vote getters.

A runoff appears likely in District 7 where Michael Nowakowski is not running for reelection due to term limits. The early numbers showed Yassamin Ansari with more than 11,00 votes  and Cinthia Estela with more than 10,000, each getting more than 10,000 votes, a significant lead over their competitors, G. Grayson Flunoy, Susan Mercado-Gudino and Francisca Montoya.

Voters in District 1 will choose a replacement Councilwoman Thelda Williams who also faces term limits. Shortly after 10 p.m., Ann O’Brien led Dave Siebert by about 3,000.

O'Brien told KJZZ, "If these encouraging results hold, it would be a deep honor to be elected to the Phoenix City Council to continue the work I have dedicated my life to: fighting to make our neighborhoods strong, safe and prosperous. Our communities face many challenges, and - no matter the role -  I am committed to bringing people together to solve problems and fulfill our city's full opportunity. " 

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