Phoenix mayoral candidate Wes Gullett conceded the Phoenix mayor's race to Greg Stanton, who ended the night with 56 percent of the vote -- a 13-point lead over his opponent.
Stanton, caught up in a frenzy of hugs, handshakes and media interviews, missed the call from Gullett, and Gullett apparently didn't leave a message. Stanton returned the call, but Gullett didn't answer.
It's a major win for Stanton, but hardly a shocking victory, given that Stanton also enjoyed a double-digit victory over Gullett in the August 30 primary.
But political pundits thought that Gullett could pull it off, thinking that he would snag all the votes that went to other mayoral candidates in the primary, including Jennifer Wright and Peggy Neely.
But that was clearly not the case.
In his victory speech, Stanton repeated many of his campaign promises, including that he wouldn't allow paid lobbyists on city boards and commissions.
One of the greatest ironies of the campaign is that Stanton, with campaign manager Ruben Alonzo (no relation to the writer) and a host of volunteers beat out the premier political-consulting firms in Arizona.
Stantons' team bested Riester, who was hired by Councilman Claude Mattox; Chuck Coughlin of HighGround, which does political consulting for Arizona's governor and was hired by former Councilwoman Peggy Neely and, of course, Gullett's own political-consulting and lobbying firm, FirstStrategic Communication and Public Affairs.
And despite the partisan politics that played out in the mayor's race -- with the Republican Party throwing money at political ads to give Gullett an edge and Democratic Party volunteers coalescing behind Stanton -- Stanton still won over a majority of Phoenix residents. Of both political persuasions.
Just like in the primary.
In August, Phoenix voters chose Stanton over Gullett in every single City Council district, even those with the largest Republican populations.
And it didn't even matter that Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who represents District 6 -- Stanton's old district -- jumped into Gullett's camp and endorsed the self-proclaimed reformer who was going challenge the status quo.
In August, Stanton received more than twice as many votes in that area, which includes the upscale communities of Biltmore, Arcadia, and Ahwatukee.
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