Guest Editorial: Show Me The Money

By Scottsdale Pinetop
Political fundraising. It might not be the most glamorous or alluring aspect of political campaigns, but it does play a crucial role in getting a candidate elected into office or helping pass important city initiatives. And as we enter into the finals days of Scottsdale’s 2018 elections, the recent results of campaign finance reports help provide some pivotal insight into which candidates are able to connect with the community and which political efforts are gaining momentum.
Last week the 3rd quarter campaign finance reports were posted to the city website. After a shaky start in the political fundraising game, Councilwoman Milhaven has done a complete one-eighty and is now leading the fundraising fray with over $102,000 raised. In second place is political upstart Bill Crawford with $88,000. Sitting in the middle is incumbent David Smith with $57,000 and newcomer Solange Whitehead with $45,00 raised.
But the biggest surprise was Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield coming in last with just barely $44,000 raised, especially since the last filing period showed Littlefield and Smith tied for second. But as some may know, the Littlefields are not known to be big fundraisers.  During his 2016 mayoral campaign, Bob Littlefield raised just under $75,000 while his counterpart Mayor Lane raised over five times that at $380,000, ultimately leading to his defeat. Maybe councilwoman Littlefield is banking on name recognition and the support of the Protect Our Preserve community to help her cross the finish line? It may be a good bet.

However, the biggest question on the November ballot is the highly contested Proposition 420. For many voters, Scottsdale has become a one-issue town: either you support Proposition 420 or are a stark opponent of it.  It has been a political battle that has been raging on for years. In terms of fundraising, the supporters of Prop. 420, known as Protect Our Preserve, are far surpassing their opponents with over $100,000 raised. The opponents, known as Protect Your Preserve, have raised half that with $57,000. If money is any indicator of success, it appears Prop. 420 has a clear shot at victory. Let alone the tremendous community support behind the measure.
Lastly, the Yes for Scottsdale Streets (also known as Question 1) is gaining political momentum with over $48,000 raised. The current city council unanimously supports the ballot measure. And as many know, it’s nearly impossible to have the council unanimously agree on anything these days. A “yes” vote on Question 1 would increase the city sales tax by 0.1 percent for 10 years (still keeping Scottsdale the lowest city sales tax rate in the Phoenix area) to raise an estimated $100 million for road and other transportation infrastructure. Unlike Prop. 420, there is no organized effort to oppose Question 1.
All city elections will come to an end on November 6. Mail in your early ballots by October 31. Or click here to find a polling place.