Three people with Phoenix City Council experience are among seven candidates vying to become the new mayor of the nation’s sixth-largest city.
Election results will be released after the polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
A run-off election will be held Nov. 7 if no candidate receives a majority of the votes. The winner takes office Jan. 3.
Voters will decide who replaces Phil Gordon, who’s been mayor since 2004 but is ineligible to run again because of the city’s two-term limit.
Candidates include former city council members Peggy Neely and Greg Stanton and current councilman Claude Mattox. Others are political consultant Wes Gullett, attorney Jennifer Wright, business owner Anna Brennan and write-in candidate Thane Eichenauer.
Phoenix allowed its 650,000 registered voters to cast ballots in Tuesday’s city election at any of 26 voting centers. The centers replace 128 assigned polling places. While most Phoenix voters cast early ballots — typically mailing them in — those who voted in person formerly had to vote in their precincts.
It’s been almost three decades since Phoenix has had a mayoral race this competitive as residents want to know who can help the city recover from an economic downturn while also making it run more efficiently.
The last three Phoenix mayors — Paul Johnson, Skip Rimsza and Gordon — all ran either unopposed or won the job with decisive voter support.
Neely lists job creation, making Phoenix more business friendly and controlling the city budget as important policy goals if she’s elected.
Mattox said Phoenix is working on cutting spending and becoming more efficient. He said the city has an AAA bond rating, the lowest crime rate in more than two decades and a balanced budget.
Stanton, who’s a former Deputy State Attorney General, said he’d be an “education mayor” and would leverage city bond dollars to finance growth of the bioscience industry and other education initiatives.
Having never served on the city council, Gullett said he would be a tough negotiator with public-employee unions and challenge the status quo.
Brennan, a political newcomer and mother of four, said stressing education is “an essential ingredient” to Phoenix’s success.
Wright touts herself as the “conservative choice” for mayor and said she would focus on “jobs and opportunity, safety and security and fiscal responsibility” if elected.
Eichenauer considers himself the underdog in the race. He formerly ran for Congress in Arizona’s District 1 in 2008 and for state treasurer last year as a Libertarian candidate.