Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane has won his re-election campaign against challenger Bob Littlefield.
Unofficial results show Mayor Lane beat Mr. Littlefield by a 27-point margin, garnering 63.82 percent of total votes cast or 48,547 total votes. Mr. Littlefield received 27,520 total votes, results show.
In addition, Scottsdale voters appear to have re-elected all incumbents seeking another term: Suzanne Klapp, Virgina Korte and Guy Phillips.
According to the Maricopa County Recorder’s office, each city council candidate’s unofficial results are:
- Suzanne Klapp: 39,498;
- Virginia Korte: 38,174;
- Guy Phillips: 37,871;
- Dan Schweiker: 34,865.
Mayor Lane says the landslide victory is an affirmation from the voting public in the city of Scottsdale.
“This shows a significant embracing of where we are as a government and what I have meant to it,” he said in a Nov. 9 phone interview.
“People have different perspectives on things. I am glad to have gotten through this election and I am looking forward to do what I have done — I profess to be what I am and the values that I embrace.”
Mr. Littlefield says the reason the election results are what they are is due to poor reporting by “would-be journalists” and a lack of funds to advertise.
“The reason the mayor election turned out as it did is simple; my opponent outspent me by a factor of at least 6-1. As of Oct. 27 — the last filing deadline — (Mr.) Lane had received $391,520.71 in campaign contributions while I had received $65,427.50,” he said in a written statement foregoing a Nov. 9 phone interview.
“No doubt he collected even more money between Oct. 27 and election day, but we won’t know the exact amount until the next deadline for filing campaign finance reports, which is not until January. All this money allowed him to send out at least 10 mailers I know of (I sent out two), and to run newspaper and TV ads — which I could not afford — and to way outspend me on social media. Bottom line, he had the money to get his message out to Scottsdale’s 100K voters and I did not.”
Mr. Littlefield blames the Scottsdale Independent and Arizona Republic newspapers for a lack of robust political coverage specific to readily available records that speak to campaign finance numbers.
“What I find interesting is neither of your ‘newspapers’ reported on these facts,” he said.
“Even worse, you did not report on the sources of (Mr.) Lane’s money — developers, developer attorneys, bar owners, and other special interests with business before the city council — as opposed to the sources of my money (residents). All of this information was readily available to you both on the city’s website yet neither of you ‘reporters’ made any effort to research it.
Mr. Littlefield contends more of the media focus should have been on campaign finance documents.
“While reporting this info would not have changed the outcome, I think any reasonable observer would agree the voters of Scottsdale should know who is financing their candidates,” he opined.
“As would-be journalists, it is supposed to be your role to do that informing, but you guys totally dropped that ball. You both failed your readers by not giving them this important info. Instead, you focused on the ultimately irrelevant ‘tone’ of the campaign. Basically, you reported on the trees and missed the forest.”
Support for the mayor
Scottsdale voters came out election day to support their political candidates, but many were concerned to let their votes be known.
Two voters who would talk on the record expressed support for Mayor Lane, the incumbent.
“I met him personally and he seemed to be a man of good rapport and I don’t know much more, other than my first interactions were very good,” said resident Richard Rackette as he exited a poll on election day.
Dan Rutan echoed a similar sentiment.
“He’s been recommended by a couple of people. I have friends on the commission and he’s done a pretty good job so far, and I like his outlook on the future to make Scottsdale a little bit better than what it is,” he explained on election day.
“And I’ve noticed some of his improvements here in the city; I mean just in the last couple of years, like with Via Linda being paved and bringing in some other things that have been beneficial.”
A look ahead
The potential construction of a desert-appreciation venue coined the Desert Discovery Center was a key issue in the contentious race for the mayor’s seat in Scottsdale.
Mayor Lane contends he will stand by his word and fight for a public vote on any and all proposals for a construction project at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve encompasses 30,000 acres of land within the rough boundaries of the Pima Road alignment to the west, McDowell Mountain Regional Park to the east, Stagecoach Road to the north and Via Linda Road alignment to the south.
“I believe the public vote is the most fair and democratic way to resolve this issue,” he said of the DDC controversy. “I still believe that the public vote is best way to go because the preserve is everybody’s asset.”
Mayor Lane says one of his focuses next term will be to continue to diversify the Scottsdale economy.
“One thing that is not too dramatic or sexy is that I want to make sure we continue to create a strong economy,” he said. “That means a full circle of an economic engine, a good tax base, good neighbors and good public policy to maintain them.”
A hybrid district model in the city of Scottsdale can work, Mayor Lane contends.
“I do believe that south Scottsdale and frankly maybe more sections of town are under-represented on council and I think the hybrid district system would be a good thing to ensure representation in the southern part of the city,” he said.
Mayor Lane’s idea suggests that three members of Scottsdale City Council would serve at-large while three members of city council would be elected specifically from newly created districts serving north, central and southern Scottsdale. Under this model, the mayor would always serve at-large and elected by all of Scottsdale.
Scottsdale City Council earlier this year did not opt to move forward on the measure. According to Mayor Lane, the Scottsdale City Charter would have to be amended and the matter put to a public vote.
North Valley News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 or at email@example.com