The margin of Kathy Littlefield’s re-election to the Scottsdale City Council on November 6th was notable. As her husband opines, it just may be the largest number of votes ever received by a City Council candidate.
There’s no doubt the salience and organization of Proposition 420 had a lot to with Littlefield’s success. But there’s another reason, and there’s simply no other way to put this.
She is avoiding the problems of her husband and former City Councilman, Bob Littlefield.
Bob didn’t just gladly adopt the political label of being anti-business. He relished in it, even calling various businesses and applicants names. The approach came back to bite him during his last two runs for elected office, first by going from favorite to also ran in a run for the Arizona State House of Representatives and then getting throttled in a 2016 run for Scottsdale Mayor against Jim Lane.
Kathy seems to have learned from her front-row seat next to Bob. Like Councilman Guy Phillips Kathy has evolved into a better Councilwoman as time has gone on. She is discerning, not a knee-jerk. Sure she still looks at various development proposals more cautiously than others on the City Council. But she has also been a supporter of various new plans for downtown Scottsdale and elsewhere, including the important and impressive Museum Square proposal.
In other words, Kathy seems to have understood what got her husband but 36% of the vote in 2016 only to turn around two years later and dominate the council field.
Not every year will have political winds at the backs of some like Proposition 420. But for a Littlefield to go from loser to leader in such a short time is impressive indeed.
On the state stage much conversation and analysis was given to those in 2018 who voted both for Governor Ducey and Senator-elect Sinema. In Scottsdale, we should now be asking about the 2016 voters for Lane and the 2018 voters for Littlefield. Obviously, there was a lot of crossover. And for Littlefield it started with a political maturation that yielded not principles but to the political heartbeat of the city that is both pro-business and insistent on quality over quantity.