Two People Filed Paperwork for Scottsdale City Council Campaign: Who Are They and How Might It Impact the Race?

We are just under one year out from next year’s elections, and while most eyes will be on different political races, three Scottsdale City Council seats (as well as the Mayor’s seat) will be voted on next year. The seats currently held by Councilmembers Tom Durham, Betty Janik and Tammy Caputi will be up for grabs, and we have a bit more clarity as to potential usurpers for those seats.

Two people recently filed paperwork to run for those seats; while the paperwork they filed were simply “Statement of Interest” submissions and do not signify that they are truly candidates for the race, they are widely seen as putting the first foot in the pool before jumping in, and allow them to officially start raising funds for that seat. So who are these two? There is one more known quantity politically and one wild card.

First, enter Jan Dubauskas…if the name sounds familiar to local readers, that’s probably because it is a familiar name. She ran to oust John Kavanagh from the Arizona Senate and came tantalizingly close, losing the primary by a mere 3 percentage points; an extremely strong result versus a longtime incumbent with widespread name identification and without any particular scandals. She raised over $228,000 for this campaign, which again is extremely impressive against an incumbent. If she decides to run, Dubauskas will be formidable.

Next is political newcomer Justin Laos, a software engineer. Not too much can be said about him that can’t be found on his website (which can be found here); some good civic involvement but without obvious value-adds. When you start out your biography with the fact that you grew up in Tucson, you probably need to work on your messaging. He will likely find it tough going, but hey, everyone needs to start somewhere. Besides, Scottsdale is not a city immune to first-time candidates catching lightning in a bottle.

The dynamics for these open seats are indeed interesting ones. Durham, Janik and Caputi could all three be considered left of Scottsdale’s political center; while none is a particular firebrand and partisan politics are deemphasized in municipal elections, items such as road diets and spending typically play to particular partisan dynamics, rendering subjects like those as being in play during this election. The election of Dubauskas would certainly be a rightward nudge for the dais. Also, since Caputi is considering a run for mayor, that would leave an open seat.

Caputi’s pro-development voting record is likely to be on trial, especially as those closest to her shill for a massive new development, the specious new Banner hospital proposed for north Scottsdale. Caputi is a proven winner but she will have her challenges. Janik appears poised for re-election should she want it, with Durham being a fascinating candidate to follow as his evolution while in office have pleased some and enraged others.

It is extremely early, and there are almost certainly to be more candidates to throw their hat in the ring for the Scottsdale City Council. But already we have one proven candidate in Dubauskas who is very likely to contend strongly and make some waves in this campaign.