Scottsdale Politics: How are the City Council Races Looking?

As we mentioned in yesterday’s piece about the Scottsdale mayoral race, campaign finance reports are our most accurate look into the potential strength of a campaign. And just like the mayoral race, candidates for Scottsdale City Council also recently filed their reports, and it allows us to peer into who is surging and who is floundering.

First, we will start with the unquestionable queen of Scottsdale political fundraising, incumbent councilmember Tammy Caputi. She entered 2024 with a dominant $129K already. During the quarter she raised over $46K, spent $11K and has almost $165K cash on hand (CoH). She remains head and shoulders above the field in this regard, though detractors will certainly take issue with where the money is coming from.

Next is former Republican legislator Adam Kwasman, who entered 2024 with nearly $23K CoH. He raised over $26K, spent nearly $18K, leaving him with almost $63K CoH, although this does take into account about $28K in personal contributions. His legislative experience left him with a strong rolodex and alongside a willingness to self-fund offer him a natural advantage.

Next is Jan Dubauskas, who nearly took out John Kavanagh in an unexpectedly tight primary last cycle due to surprisingly strong fundraising. She had $20K CoH at start of the quarter, raised almost $17K, spent almost $10K, and is left with an ending cash balance of over $27K. A bit surprising considering her previous fundraising prowess, but plenty of time to catch up.

Now we delve into the also-rans from a fundraising perspective; those who are having trouble exiting the opening gates.

First is Mason Gates, the youngest candidate in the field and with fundraising numbers that reflect that (learn more about him here). He entered the quarter with no CoH, raised a bit over $5K during the quarter and spent nearly $3K, leaving him with CoH of over $2K. 

Next is software engineer Justin Laos came into the quarter with a paltry $3K plus in cash. He raised nearly $7K but spent $7.5K, leaving him with $2,500. Not a promising entry into the world of politics when a 21 year old is essentially even with a software engineer in cash on hand. 

Next is Maryann McAllen, who is known as the only registered Democrat in the group, but her fundraising numbers don’t demonstrate that advantage. She has raised only $2,400, having spent about $600, leaving her with $1.6K CoH. Even if Democrats coalesce around her, she will need to do much better than that.

And we saved the biggest shocker for last: Tom Durham. The incumbent councilmember started the quarter with no cash on hand, he raised over $13K but has spent about $10K of that already, leading to an implied CoH of about $3K yet reporting just a bit over $1K. There seems to be a reporting error on his end, but either way you slice it, it’s a devastatingly, shockingly poor report for an incumbent.

While there’s a long way to go, at this point there are three very clear frontrunners, and a handful of people who have a whole lot of work to do.