Two former city council members face off in Phoenix mayoral runoff

Ballotpedia reports that the North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election isn’t the only race from 2018 that hasn’t been decided. There’s a runoff election Tuesday which concludes last year’s mayoral race in Phoenix.

Former Phoenix City Council members Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela are running in the mayoral election. Former Mayor Greg Stanton resigned the office to run for Congress last year. Gallego and Valenzuela were the top two vote-getters in a special election held on November 6, 2018, as neither candidate surpassed the 50 percent threshold to win the office outright. Gallego received 44 percent to Valenzuela’s 26 percent in a field of four candidates.

While the election is nonpartisan, both candidates are Democrats who have similar voting records on the Phoenix City Council. They have primarily diverged on spending issues, such as financing the arena used by the Phoenix Suns. Valenzuela supported a tax on rental cars and hotel rooms to support the project, saying it would promote tourism. Gallego said the professional sports industry should pay for its own facilities and that the public funds would better be spent elsewhere.

Gallego’ says her top three priorities would be public safety, infrastructure investments, and job growth. She said she has experience and a proven track record on infrastructure issues, pointing to her work on the campaign to pass Proposition 104, a measure seeking to fund $31.5 billion of infrastructure spending over the next 35 years through a transportation sales tax increase.

Valenzuela said his policy priorities include attracting, retaining, and developing talent, and motivating technology and high-growth companies to remain in Phoenix. He said that he brought an increased focus on public safety to the City Council, including helping to secure $50 million in grants for public safety issues and developing the Canyon Corridor Crime Safety Initiative.

If elected, Valenzuela would be the city’s first Latino mayor. Gallego would be the first woman elected to the office in more than three decades.

Two special elections for the District 5 and District 8 seats on the Phoenix City Council—the seats Gallego and Valenzuela resigned to run for mayor—are also on the ballot tomorrow. Arizona is one of five states, along with Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas, that has resign-to-run laws.

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