*2018 definitely proved to be a “Year of the Woman” when it came to state and national politics. Somewhat lost among the results was Kate Gallego’s dismantling of the field in the Phoenix Mayor’s race. She topped former Councilman Danny Valenzuela, the overwhelming favorite of developers, by a whopping 19 point margin. They both now head to a March run-off election where the proverbial Fat Lady is warming up her chords. Indeed, many Valenzuela donors and backers are now fleeing to Gallego seeing the inevitable. A key fault line in the run-off will be Gallego’s opposition to public funding for a new Phoenix Suns arena whereas Valenzuela supports. Care to guess where the public is at on this one?
*Kudos to Sandra Kennedy’s win for one of the two Arizona Corporation Commission seats. She’s a Democrat but was more Republican than anyone else running. Arizona needs strong utilities. But Republicans in recent years haven’t been little more than lap dogs for them. No, that’s too kind. They have been marionettes. During her campaign Kennedy promised to fight higher rates and for more innovation and transparency. That should be the Republican mantra for these seats rather than mere bootlickers.
*The most powerful person in Scottsdale these days? Tim Klapp, husband of Suzanne Klapp, Scottsdale City Councilwoman and new 2020 favorite for Scottsdale Mayor after the city’s election results last week. Will he give his full throttle support for the endeavor or wish for a little more R&R? In fairness, there are more important things in life than electoral pursuit, even if the path for such got a lot easier than it was several weeks ago.
*Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s political action committee, “At Our Best,” fared well in city and state elections. It gave money to Governor Doug Ducey’s campaign and distributed tens of thousands of direct mail pieces to Scottsdale residents on his behalf. The committee also gave a maxed out contribution to newly elected Attorney General Mark Brnovich and contributed to the successful Question 1 in Scottsdale. Though the committee did not give money to Proposition 420 Lane articulated his support for the measure despite continuing doubt from backers. While Lane did not succeed in pulling his friend and ally Bill Crawford across the City Council finish line, it was Crawford’s best showing, by far, for his numerous council runs. Lane also backed Councilwoman Linda Milhaven with substantial direct mail and digital advertising support for her successful re-election.
*New memberships at Desert Mountain Club, Silverleaf and other area country clubs that help define North Scottsdale’s cachet are surging.
*The iconic Cowboy Ciao restaurant and Kazimierz wine bar in Old Town Scottsdale may have closed but look for these spaces to be reanimated soon, a very good thing as the closure of them caught many by surprise.
*No city manager in the Valley may be kicking more ass and getting things done than Scottsdale’s Jim Thompson.
*That Kathy Hoffman, a 31-year old no-name just months ago, is now Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction isn’t just an amazing state story, but a national one.
*Once upon a time a group known as the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak had an enormous political role influencing Scottsdale elections. But the Protect Our Preserve: Yes on 420 group now makes them look like a bunch of minor league rookies. The question with the Desert Discovery Center dead is will the group stay together and salient? Does it want to? If so, a new day may have truly dawned in Scottsdale.
*Predictions: Kyrsten Sinema will one day run for President when centrism becomes en vogue in the Democratic Party, which it will. Mark Brnovich will be Arizona’s next Governor. The FBI is not done in Arizona. And state money for drought relief not teachers will be the big and necessary issue of the upcoming state legislative session. Oh, and the state’s gaming compacts will soon become the issue du jour, following water.