We recently announced that Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner decided not to run for a fourth term, thus leaving an open seat. It didn’t take long for that vacuum to be filled, and in this case a very strong candidate is filling that void.
Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Mark Stanton recently announced his candidacy. He has a long history of public service in the town, starting with his first term in office back in 2014. His public service goes back further than that however; he formerly served as Chief of Staff for a Supervisor from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and Deputy Director for the Arizona Office of Tourism, and played a key role in planning the 2012 Presidential Primary Debate in Arizona.
Today he serves as the President and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, an intelligent strategic move where he undoubtedly is routinely in touch with both residents of PV as well as potential donors; from a fundraising perspective, that will be undoubtedly powerful. While there’s only so much money you can spend on a campaign in such a small town, more contributions never hurt anyone (and potentially may allow him to spread the wealth and influence).
As far as political seats go, the role of mayor of Paradise Valley flies fairly far under the radar. It is an unpaid position (like its city council seats) and doesn’t typically have much of a seat at the table for conversations about larger issues in the state, like the mayors of Phoenix or even Scottsdale do. On the plus side, it’s a small jurisdiction with relatively little stress and it’s already an excellent place to live, so as long as the new mayor doesn’t screw it up, then the electorate won’t dig up their torches and pitchforks.
Will there be more candidates? Will councilmember Julie Pace utilize what she learned when she fell short in ‘22 and come back stronger? Will a new entrant make a push to be mayor? Certainly possible, but it may be difficult to find someone who has both the civic experience and the business pedigree like Stanton does.
Unlike in many other races, there is not likely to be truly bombastic and odious candidates who will turn off a good portion of the populace. Any race will likely be a question of whose version of Paradise is better. It’s an unquestionably positive position to be in as a town, and residents should be thankful that their town is very likely in good hands, no matter who wins.