Councilman Claude Mattox and Former Councilwoman Peggy Neely Barely Got More Votes Than Unknown Tea Party Candidate
Despite serving Phoenix residents for about a decade apiece, neither former Councilwoman Peggy Neely nor seated Councilman Claude Mattox were able to clench a spot on the run-off ballot in November for the second leg of the Phoenix mayor's race.
Phoenix mayoral candidate Greg Stanton and Wes Gullett will be vying for the seat in the Mayor's Office.
Unofficial results show that Neely came in third with 12.65 percent of the vote, and that Mattox is trailing behind her with 12.12 percent of Phoenix voters supporting him.
Jennifer Wright, a relatively unknown candidate who courted the Tea Party vote, was at their heels with in impressive 11.47 percent of the vote.
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Their campaigns were plagued with controversy.
Neely, who represented northeast Phoenix, obviously saw her star fading and hosted only a private reception for family and friends after the polls closed.
In a statement she released last night, she said that "it appears unlikely that I will be able to overcome the margin required to make it into the run-off."
She blamed her loss on the "anti-incumbent fervor."
"It is clear that there is growing frustration with government which can be seen from the national level all the way to the local level. I share this frustration and attempted to make that clear in 'The Phoenix We Want.' Unfortunately, the frustration has grown to an anti-incumbent fervor that benefited those who appealed as 'outsiders.' I am, of course, disappointed in the outcome, but I remain committed to changing the way Phoenix does business even if it isn't achieved serving as Phoenix's Mayor.
Her campaign was riddled with contradictions that weren't easily explained.
She wanted to reduce the influence of zoning attorneys at City Hall, for example. And yet her campaign was being run by zoning attorneys.
Transcripts of depositions taken as part of a lawsuit between warring developers revealed that Neely had a too-cozy relationship with developers who had offered their financial support to her political campaigns.
She pledged transparency, but was discovered using private e-mail addresses to pass city information along to developer friends.
She also spent six nights in Hawaii on the city's dime to reportedly recruit a soccer tournament, but game organizers told New Times that political officials' presence didn't influence their decisions.
Mattox didn't fair any better.
Although supported by Phoenix Firefighters, a once-influential union, he wasn't even close to edging out Gullett, who carried an 8 percent lead over the incumbent, according to unofficial results.
During his campaign, he too pledged transparency but he refused to answer questions posed by New Times regarding who paid for tickets he used to attend several Super Bowls, concerts and Phoenix Suns playoff games.
At the end of the night, Mattox called Stanton, told him that he wished it was him up there, competing against him to serve as Phoenix's next mayor, and offered his congratulations.
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