Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega will be facing what could be a tough re-election campaign next year, with a number of strong known and potential candidates looking to unseat him. However his path towards re-election looks as though it will be a bit easier with a recent announcement.
In a reversal from what was long rumored but ultimately found to be untrue, Councilwoman Tammy Caputi will not be challenging Ortega in the mayoral race, instead choosing to run for re-election to the council. This leaves Ortega in a likely showdown against former councilmember Linda Milhaven andor his run-off competitor in last year’s election, Lisa Borowsky. There have also been rumblings about former Mayor Jim Lane taking a look at the race.
So what prompted this announcement? We haven’t heard directly from her about it so we don’t want to speculate too much. However, there was word of some polling that was conducted recently that had Mayor Ortega with very positive favorability numbers, and while Caputi’s numbers weren’t necessarily bad, she would have had a very long way to go when it came to name identification, a problem Ortega does not have.
Caputi is a very prolific fundraiser, so money would have been no problem. However, there was a larger question: what would her pathway to win be? Borowsky and Milhaven will likely raise a strong amount of funds as well. Milhaven is also very friendly with the developer community, meaning that getting full-throated support from them would have been tough. Both her and Ortega have a past that is left-of-center politically, and demographically, she would be one of three women.
Simply put, it would have been very difficult for her to stand out amongst the crowd as it currently stands. Caputi is no fool, it’s safe to say that her and her kitchen cabinet were able to perform that calculus and came to the correct conclusion.
This was likely the best decision for all involved. All of the existing candidates have one less formidable candidate to worry about, and Caputi should have a relatively easy path to re-election without blemishing her electoral record, although recently announced candidate Jan Dubauskas could be a formidable challenge to Caputi as well as incumbents Tom Durham and Betty Janik, should they opt to run for re-election too. Besides, four years will elapse soon enough, and Caputi may have a much easier path to the Mayor’s seat then.