Election Preview: Phoenix Mayoral Race

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Arizona Republic reporter Lynh Bui provides a preview of the November 8th Phoenix mayoral election between Greg Stanton and Wes Gullett.

Ted Simons: The race to become the next mayor of Phoenix concludes on election day, Tuesday. Here to talk about the contest between Wes Gullett and Greg Stanton is "Arizona Republic" reporter, Lyhn Bui. Thanks for joining us.

Lyhn Bui: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: How is the race shaping up?

Lyhn Bui: It's shaping up to be a little more competitive and ugly and nasty as we hit the home stretch with a lot of mailers from various groups. You know, it's kind of getting down there in the mud, but they're working it.

Ted Simons: Let's talk each candidate. Wes Gullett. What is he emphasizing?

Lyhn Bui: He's hitting hard on the union versus taxpayer has been the theme. We see a lot of signs in front of Greg Stanton's signs that say "union owned" or something like that and Gullett came out with a TV ad, that said, kids first and I'll be the candidate to put kids first and Greg Stanton voted for all of these union contracts and endorsed by the union.

Ted Simons: Is that significantly different? We've been hearing a little bit of that throughout the campaign. New spin or basically the same thing or only ramped up.
Lyhn Bui: It's ramped up and the newest ad, the spin you get is the can Is first bit. Because Stanton, when on the council voted for employee contract, look, this money could have gone to after-school programs and Stanton has been pushing himself hard as the education mayor and that twist is something new near the end.

Ted Simons: Honor the Stanton side, what's the emphasis?

Lyhn Bui: A lot of, hey, remember Wes Gullett? He's a lobbyist. If you haven't heard. And also, you know, still hammering his education campaign. This week, he came out with a piece trying to distinguish himself with Gullett, reminding people that he wants to be very aggressive in terms of expanding the light rail and Wes Gullett has said we shouldn't spend any more money on light rail until we capitalize on the system we have.

Ted Simons: Same question, any of that seem like it's any different than what was said earlier of the just another ramp-up? I'm asking because seems like this race has yet to catch the imagination of the public. Phoenix, obviously people care, but what's going on? We're not seeing the dynamic, it is the mayor of Phoenix we're talking about here.
Lyhn Bui: I think the issue with being the mayor of Phoenix, we have a council manager form of government. The city manager is in charge of the day-to-day, unlike Chicago where you can bring in a whole new administration and I think we haven't seen a lot in the home stretch. We have with mailers and robocalls and TV ads but the final days we already have 124,000 ballots already cast.

Ted Simons: Interesting. What does that say?

Lyhn Bui: That a lot of people already made up their minds and the final push is really just getting out the vote and a numbers game and get as many ads as we can.

Ted Simons: What you're seeing and hearing, what -- maybe there will not be one single big issue in this race, but something that you think -- what -- what are -- what do people care about out there?

Lyhn Bui: We hear a lot about people talking about the food tax. There's a discussion whether people notice that two bucks a month or goes on their bill and I think definitely a lot of the emphasis from the national level. It's all over the place right now.

Ted Simons: Any polling right now?

Lyhn Bui: Kind of rough numbers but I think Stanton ahead.

Ted Simons: And so with consensus on the LDA right, a tight race. We're not sure?

Lyhn Bui: Not sure, I guess it's how reliable the numbers floating around are. But Greg has been ahead throughout and -- you know, but Gullett's folks are trying and there's a conflicting poll saying they're within the margin of err.

Ted Simons: Do we know who has raised more money?

Lyhn Bui: Greg Stanton has raised the most money out of the campaign. More than half a million dollars. This campaign finance period, Gullett for the first time out-raised Greg and the theory was that well Gullett was running against four other conservatives and that support now has funneled to him. But the most interesting thing has been the outside money and, you know, these shadow groups as some like to call them.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Lyhn Bui: Throwing their support to Greg and Wes.

Ted Simons: And we still don't know who they are, do we?

Lyhn Bui: We don't, but, you know, the secretary of state is looking into it. And by the time the election rounds up, maybe we'll find out.

Ted Simons: Well, we'll find out Tuesday and have you back to dissect. Thanks for joining us.

Lynh Bui:Arizona Republic;

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