Crawford abandons Scottsdale mayoral bid pushing election to November

From left are Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Bill Crawford and Bob Littlefield.

From left are Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Bill Crawford and Bob Littlefield.

Scottsdale resident, proprietor and neighborhood activist Bill Crawford has dropped his pursuit of the mayor’s seat in the upcoming general election.

Scottsdale voters will elect a mayor and three members of Scottsdale City Council at the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election as two candidates have emerged in pursuit of the mayor’s seat while there are four candidates for three city council seats.

With Mr. Crawford abandoning his mayoral campaign the city of Scottsdale has the option to push the mayoral and city council elections to the general election, a move officials say could save the municipality about $150,000.

Voters in March 2010 approved a Charter amendment — the city of Scottsdale’s constitution — allowing the city to forgo the primary election process if no more than two candidates exist for each open seat, according to Scottsdale City Clerk Carolyn Jagger.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 Scottsdale mayoral candidates are Mayor Jim Lane and challenger Bob Littlefield while council candidates are Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte, Guy Phillips and Dan Schweiker, records show.

“It is fine with me,” said mayor candidate Bob Littlefield in a June 1 phone interview. “I think the reason he is exiting is because Lane’s recent (election) poll that shows if he stays in the race it would actually benefit me. I felt all along that Bill was being encourage maybe by not Lane personally but by his supporters.”

The poll, conducted by the Summit Consulting Group of Phoenix, surveyed 400 residents in Scottsdale between April 22 through April 25. It had a margin of error of plus or minus at 4.9 percent. Scottsdale Strong, a nonprofit group that advocates for sensible and pragmatic economic development, commissioned the poll, according to a press release.

The poll revealed Mayor Lane leads Mr. Littlefield 37 percent to 20 percent, while Mr. Crawford garnered 5 percent of the popular vote.

Mr. Littlefield, a long time Scottsdale resident and three-term councilman, says the political ideologies of Mr. Lane and Mr. Crawford are identical.

“I always felt Mr. Crawford’s positions are pretty much the same as Lane’s,” he said. “It really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other — I think we have the momentum and I know we have the right message.”

Today is the day

When asked why he chose today, the candidate filing deadline, to announce his exit of the mayoral race and subsequent endorsement of Mayor Lane, Mr. Crawford replied,

“It was the last day I had to make it. Obviously, it was a decision that weighs heavy on minds and hearts.”

Mr. Crawford says he wants to do what is best for the city of Scottsdale — and that means keeping Mr. Littlefield out of the mayor’s office, he contends.

“I think one of the worst things that can happen to Scottsdale is to have Bob in the mayor’s seat,” he said. “That would give one guy, two votes. That certainly played a factor in it. And, Jim and I have spend quite a little bit of time together and we are in alignment on almost everything.”

When asked directly if Mr. Crawford was encouraged to run by Mayor Lane or his campaign staff to take votes away from Mr. Littlefield, Mr. Crawford replied, “I am a guy that doesn’t take direction very good. No one asked me to enter this race. I entered this race because I felt it was my civic duty.”

Mr. Crawford also denied pursuing or being offered any political favors by the Lane camp in return for dropping out of the race.

“I would not ask — that is not who I am,” he said in response to that line of questioning. “I am not for sale.”

Mr. Crawford lauded Mayor Lane’s effort to help stem issues a vibrant downtown club and bar scene can sometimes bring with it.

“Jim and I hit a few speed-bumps going through the bar district issues. When there were issues with the bar district Jim addressed them,” he said. “Maybe they didn’t get handled as urgently as I wanted them to get done to my liking, but they did get handled and they got handled well.”

Mayor Lane says both he and Mr. Crawford share one glaring idea: Mr. Littlefield is bad for Scottsdale.

“I look forward to working with Bill on this campaign. If there is one thing that we hold in common, among myriad others, is a clear understanding of what Bob creates through his actions,” he said.

“He has not asked, nor have I offered. This is a clean effort to work together in the advancement of Scottsdale and to defeat Mr. Littlefield. We are both vested in that.”

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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