Will Mayor David Ortega Win Outright on July 30th?

Photo Credit: Arianna Grainey

Amongst the many partisan primaries that will be decided in the July 30th election, Scottsdale will also have its municipal races on that same ballot, both mayoral and city council races. While perhaps one city council candidate will avoid a run-off and win outright in July (Tammy Caputi has the best chance with an enormous fundraising lead), the mayoral race is a big question mark in this regard.

If one candidate hits the 50% threshold in July, they will win outright and avoid the November run-off, and right now, Mayor David Ortega seems as though he will be very close to hitting that threshold.

Relatively recent polling showed Ortega with a seemingly unimpeachable lead over his two opponents, Lisa Borowsky and Linda Milhaven, coming out at 38% with 43% those polled being unsure of who they would vote for. Borwosky comes in at a VERY distant 2nd place with barely over 10%.

Likewise, when the question was asked as to who voters would prefer in hypothetically one-on-one races, Ortega came in at 41% in both cases, with at least a 25 point lead in both races.

So it should be a slam dunk, right? In a general election, yes…but getting to that 50% threshold in July isn’t so easy.

Assuming these numbers are still the case, Ortega would need to pull in around one-third of those undecideds (getting a 12% bump from a 43% undecided audience), assuming they all vote in this race. Mind you, the other two candidates are only now getting their message out in earnest and will be working hard to both besmirch Ortega’s record as well as make their own case. While Ortega will be doing the same, his time as an incumbent means that voters are already more familiar with him.

Ortega will have the benefit of a highly contested primary in Arizona’s 1st Congressional district, meaning that Dems will be coming out in force. He will still need to remind them that as a former Democrat his values generally align with theirs, however.

Regardless, this may be the tightest race of the election: not Ortega versus his challengers, but Ortega versus 50%. Our call? That the margin will be 2% in either direction: 48% to 52%. Too close to call. But if he falls short of 50%, don’t expect the November election to be so close.