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Former councilman Stanton, newcomer Gullett advance to Phoenix mayor runoff

Greg Stanton, a former member of the Phoenix City Council, celebrates as election returns come in. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Joanne Ingram)

Former City Councilman Greg Stanton and political consultant Wes Gullett were winning a primary Tuesday to advance to a runoff that will select a new mayor for the nation’s sixth-largest city.

Unofficial returns showed Stanton with about 38 percent of the vote, well short of the majority needed for outright victory, while Gullett was drawing about 21 percent. They led five other candidates in the nonpartisan election, including City Councilman Claude Mattox and former City Councilwoman Peggy Neely.

Stanton, the only Democrat in the race, served nine years on the city council and most recently was a deputy state attorney general. He said improving the quality of education will be a campaign theme.

“Supporting education is our best long-term economic engine,” he said.

Wes Gullett, a political strategist who owns a public affairs firm, greets supporters. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Joanne Ingram)

Gullett, who owns a public affairs and communications firm and served several years on the city Planning and Zoning Commission, said he will focus on boosting the economy.

“We’re going to bring the city together,” Gullett said. “We’re going to talk about job-creation and getting our small-business community going and reforming government.”

The winner of the Nov. 8 runoff will replace Mayor Phil Gordon, who was unable to seek re-election after serving two four-year terms.

Also in the primary were attorney Jennifer Wright, businesswoman Anna Brennan and write-in candidate Thane Eichenauer.

The primary campaign centered on jobs, taxes, public safety, immigration and education. Each candidate proposed ways to create jobs and bring more businesses to the city.

Gullett’s plan included creating a Small Business Development Advocate position in the mayor’s office.

Mattox, with $578,000, had raised the most money going in to the primary. Stanton was second with $381,000 but led all fundraising from June to August with $115,000. Gullett raised $254,000.

In addition to deciding primaries in five of the city’s eight City Council districts, voters also decided two ballot measures.

They were solidly rejecting Proposition 2, which would have rezoned 2.6 acres of land in the city’s east side for construction of a gas station. Neighbors fought the proposal, saying the land should remain residential.

Proposition 1, which was passing overwhelmingly, would continue the city’s home-rule system of setting its budget rather than following a formula provided by the state. That rule has to be voted on every four years.

ADVANCING:

Greg Stanton – ?Served on Phoenix City Council from 2001 to 2009. Deputy attorney general since 2009.

Wes Gullett? – Businessman and founding partner of FirstStrategic, Communications and Public Affairs. Spent five years on the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Commission.

NOT ADVANCING:

Anna Brennan – ?Former restaurateur who now manages her husband’s medical practice. Represents Italian winery Terre de Trinci.

Thane Eichenaur – ?Freelance chess tutor. Worked in tech support for ASAP Staffing.

Claude Mattox? – Currently serving his third term as city councilman for Phoenix District 5.?Chair of Public Safety and Veterans cubcommittees.

Peggy Neely? – Served on Phoenix City Council from 2001 to 2011. Real estate broker and former owner of Arizona Home Team.

Jennifer Wright – ?Attorney for Bain & Lauritano, PLC. Formerly worked as a law clerk and legal assistant for the Rose Law Group.

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