City Hall

Lawrence Robinson Joins Race for Phoenix District 8 City Council Seat, Drama Follows

The race for the Phoenix City Council seat in District 8 -- a seat that has been held by African-Americans for the past 46 years -- has been further complicated for those who are determined to keep that streak alive.

Phoenix School of Law professor and Roosevelt school district board member Lawrence Robinson, who's African-American, has announced that he's joining the race.

See also:
-Jarrett Maupin: White Candidate for City Council Is Attempted "Political Lynching"
-Pastor Warren Stewart to Run for Phoenix City Council's 8th District Seat

That complicates some things because we were told that several of the leaders in Phoenix's African-American community had agreed that Pastor Warren Stewart would be the Black candidate in the race, although several others, including Robinson, were considered.

A source with knowledge of that agreement told New Times at the time that people worried that Robinson would be seen as a bit too liberal for some of Phoenix's church-going and voting Black population. One specific divide was that Robinson's gay, and homosexuality isn't exactly embraced in Phoenix's Black churches, we were told.

Now that Robinson has announced that he's running, the LGBT-rights group Equality Arizona has already made a public statement against Stewart for making "homophobic remarks," although Stewart hasn't even made his candidacy official at this point.

Consider it no coincidence that Robinson used to be one of Equality Arizona's board members, but that's not the point.

Vice Mayor Michael Johnson is term-limited this year, and it wouldn't be surprising if his district now has more Hispanic voters than it did in 1992, when Johnson was first elected. This year's election has the 46-year streak of African-American councilmen representing District 8 in jeopardy, and several Black politicians in Phoenix are very concerned about keeping that seat, which several of them see as the African-American community's seat at the table in Phoenix politics.

People like Reverend Jarrett Maupin and former city Councilman Calvin Goode have already shared some criticism of the other current candidate in the race, Kate Gallego -- who's not African-American.

Now, with a Black candidate entering the race, and immediately attacking the other Black candidate, you can imagine why those trying to keep an African-American on the city council are not in the best mood at the moment.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley