What has been a contentious race only promises to heat up as the two finalists -- former Councilman Greg Stanton and Phoenix lobbyist Wes Gullett -- in the Phoenix mayor's race work to distinguish themselves and prove they are best suited for the job.
Both candidates kicked it up during their Election Night rallies even before the night was over.
Stanton proclaimed to his supporters that he was going to "shake things up at City Hall" and break it free of the powerful influence lobbyists have over elected officials.
He told his supporters they had to work harder in the final stretch of the race to prevent handing the keys to City Hall to lobbyists (that is, Gullett).
Gullett chuckles and says that lobbyists have had those keys for decades.
But he says he is a "long-shot outsider up against the status quo of Phoenix, aiming to challenge the old way of doing business with new ideas and fresh eyes."
Gullett says that "if Greg wants to go to the gutter, then let him go."
He criticizes Stanton for putting out several attack pieces "all about me being a lobbyist" in the final days of the race.
"I couldn't have been hit any harder," Gullett says. "And guess what? Voters said, 'We like this guy. He's focused on the economy."
Stanton notes that Gullett set the tone in the race with his first campaign mailer that included negative ads about all of his opponents.
Gullett also fires at Stanton for "quitting the city council when he had tough votes" to make on behalf of the city.
Stanton left his city council post to take a job as Deputy Attorney General in 2009.
New Times points out that Gullett also abandoned his post on the planning commission when he decided to run in the mayor's race.
But it isn't the same thing, he insists.
"There is a big difference between leaving the planning commission, which is a volunteer, appointed position, and leaving a position that you ran for and are getting paid for," he says.
Before the night was over, Gullett challenged Stanton to at least 15 debates, one in each of the city's urban villages.
Gullett wants to have "as many debates as we can schedule during this 70 day sprint to the finish ... to give voters across the city the chance to compare our vision, records of achievement, and positions on the issues."
Stanton welcomes the opportunity to talk about his track record and about changing the culture at City Hall.
"It's not about the candidates, it's about people's confidence that their mayor is serving their interest, not the interest of clients" with deep pockets, Stanton says, adding that he will serve the interests of Phoenix residents.
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