Since it’s never too early to pontificate and prognosticate about politics, we thought we’d get a jump on a way too early look at possible successors to popular Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. Due to the city’s three term limit for mayors Lane, who won in a landslide over Bob Littlefield in November, 2016, is ineligible to run again.
The odds proffered for each person are a combination of the likelihood of a run, and ultimate victory.
Virginia Korte (2:1): She’s been running for Mayor in her own way since about the time Goldwater was nominated for President. Korte wants the job badly and almost ran in 2012 and 2016 but wisely deferred to Lane. There’s no question she can raise the funds necessary having raised over $200,000 for her 2016 council re-election. And much of the Scottsdale “establishment” will be behind her. But her re-elect numbers were sluggish. Yes, she won but many had thought after a sterling 2012 performance the final tallies would have been better. Perhaps that has something to do with bouts of alienation. Korte is not one to shy away from taking a stand, whether it’s an ardent supporter of the Desert Discovery Center in the face of withering opposition or supporting a property tax increase for Scottsdale schools. In many ways she’s like this year’s Cleveland Cavaliers: a proven winner and Hall of Famer but whose second half (or term) underperformed, but not so much so to underestimate them come playoff time.
Suzanne Klapp (3:1): By topping Korte in the 2016 council races in money raised and total votes Klapp showed significant political chops. She is not saying no to a potential run but does she really want it beyond the flattery? Klapp would be 70 plus by the time of the next race but she makes that age look like the new 50. On the political spectrum she also occupies space right of Korte which would be helpful in a primary election coinciding with the GOP primary, though less so in a November run-off election. Unlike the Lane-Littlefield mash-up where there were clear fault lines, Klapp and Korte occupy much of the same space on business and other matters, which means any potential race between the two would challenge loyalties and households.
Guy Phillips (6:1): Never underestimate a guy who can get so many votes with so little in his campaign coffers. And that would be Phillips’ challenge in a mayoral race. Can he raise real money in a race where competitors will be able to? Lane eclipsed $400,000 in 2016. In Scottsdale the top two finishers, if they don’t get over 50%, advance to the General Election. With Phillips originally emanating from the Tea Party and still loved by many in the GOP Phillips could and likely would be a strong candidate in the primary’s top two, for many of the same reasons Klapp would. His greater challenge would be communicating with so many people in the General election, with so few dollars.
Vernon Parker (12:1): The former Mayor of Paradise Valley now lives in Scottsdale. And although he came up a bit short in his 2016 Scottsdale council race former Paradise Valley Councilman Dan Schewiker showed that a move across the street into Scottsdale need not be fruitless. With Parker rumored to be up for a position in the Trump Administration the timing for a Scottsdale run may or may not work out. And, like Phillips, he has significant GOP credentials. Unlike Phillips though, he has a deep network for donors having run for office numerous times previously.
Bill Crawford (15:1): As time goes on the odds for Crawford may go down since his political stock has gone up so much. That’s because after dropping out of the 2016 race to support Lane, Crawford became a valuable member of Lane’s campaign team, mainstreaming himself after failed council runs and meeting new donors along the way. Plus, he occupies political space that few do: activist and ambassador. In Scottsdale. For Scottsdale. Rather than a run for Mayor, however, Crawford most likely is setting his sights on a council seat in 2018.
Bob Littlefield (40:1): We don’t know the last time such a long-shot won the Kentucky Derby so we wouldn’t put too much money on Littlefield ever becoming Mayor. The business community hates him, profoundly. And Littlefield seems to relish that relationship, even calling some of Scottsdale’s top business leaders “scumbags” in the last election. Our advice for Littlefield: stop being so much like Grumpy and dab a little class on your craziness, like finally congratulating Mayor Lane. We know ass-whoopings hurt but that’s often when true character shows. Be happy that your wife is on the City Council, even though it complicates your desire to run for office again.
Only some 1,200 days until all of this really matters.