City Hall

Pastor Warren Stewart to Run for Phoenix City Council's 8th District Seat in Bid to Continue Streak of African-Americans, Source Says

African-Americans have held the Phoenix City Council seat in District 8 -- which is currently held by Vice Mayor Michael Johnson -- for the last 46 years.

That streak could be in jeopardy later this year, since Johnson is term-limited, and the district doesn't have the same demographic makeup as it did when Johnson was first elected, in 1992.

See also:
-The Good Fight

Although several African-American politicians in the area were considering a run for the seat, a source tells New Times that there was a consensus among several of the city's high-profile black leaders, including potential candidates, that Pastor Warren Stewart of the First Institutional Baptist Church is their best choice.

The race is just getting started, but Kate Gallego, the wife of Democratic state Representative Ruben Gallego, has already announced her candidacy, and has been endorsed by Councilman Michael Nowakowski.

Our source says Gallego's candidacy, as well as already earning support from a sitting councilman, is likely a sign that there's going to be some "racial tension" between the black and Hispanic communities throughout this election.

There's already been an editorial in the Arizona Republic urging District 8 voters to elect another African-American to the seat, whoever they may be.

Kate Gallego has also acknowledged that race was an issue in the election, as she was quoted by a Republic writer as saying, "I don't think there's an African-American or Latino way to fill a pothole."

Aside from the historical factors, we've heard that some people in the black community are concerned about losing political relevance in the city, a thought that would certainly be aggravated by losing a city council seat that's been held by African-Americans for decades.

The official announcement from Stewart's supposed to be happening next week, so we'll update you on that when the time comes.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley