Phoenix Republicans Snub Lone Democrat in Mayors Race; Candidate Greg Stanton Gets No Invite to Mayoral Forum

Arizona Legislative District 11 Republicans hosted a mayoral forum last night, and former Councilman Greg Stanton didn't get an invite.

Former Councilwoman Peggy Neely, Phoenix lobbyist Wes Gullet, and the newest candidate in the race for Phoenix mayor, attorney Jennifer Wright, showed up to share their Republican philosophies with the Republican crowd.

Mattox, also a Republican, was a no-show.

Gretchen Pahia, a media representative for Mattox's mayoral campaign, said she received a phone call about the forum and asked the caller to e-mail her details about the event. She said she never received the e-mail.

Stanton says that if the tables were turned, and the Democrats hosted a forum, he would not participate if it excluded the Republican candidates.

"This is a non-partisan race," Stanton says. "All of the candidates have to face all the voters from Day 1."

Stanton would have held his own before the Republican audience considering that he represented North Central Phoenix, Ahwatukee, and Arcadia -- heavily Republican areas of Phoenix -- for nine years.

"Nobody ever asked me for my party registration card," he tells New Times. "The residents just knew that I would stand up and fight for their neighborhoods. In fact, I won my last election with 86 percent of the vote."

"I happen to be a Democrat, but I'm running based on my record of success as a city councilman and Deputy Attorney General," he says.

Randy Pullen, former chairman of the state's Republican party, tweeted through the forum.

The forum in a nutshell, as told through Pullen's tweets:

Peggy Neely says she was the only candidate for mayor who endorsed Governor Jan Brewer last year; she didn't vote to approve the city budget; and she voted against the food tax.

And Neely supports SB 1070.

[It shouldn't be surprising considering that she met with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to get his endorsement in her race for mayor. She did not get the sheriff's endorsement.]

Gullett and Wright say they oppose spending money on light rail. Neely says most public transit systems lose money, and Phoenix needs to change how they manage it.

On pensions, Gullett says that the system needs reforming because it's a huge, unfunded liability.

Neely opposed SB 1322, which would have required local governments, namely Phoenix and Tucson, to seek competitive bids for certain city services had it not been vetoed by Governor Brewer.

Gullett and Wright were in favor of it.

On protecting neighborhoods, Gullett says he will work with neighborhood groups to minimize zoning changes. Wright says the city should not pick winners or losers and that developers must work with neighbors. Neely says that agreements should be worked out with neighbors before zoning issues are brought to city level.

The idea of picking "winners or losers" refers to the select subsidies that the city gives out -- such as the nearly $100 million CityNorth subsidy.

Mattox and Neely voted for that giveaway, and Stanton, the lone Democrat in the bunch, voted no.

"The CityNorth subsidy wasn't a Republican idea or Democrat idea. It was just a bad idea," Stanton says.

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo