Two-term Mayor Mary Manross threw in the towel Wednesday, conceding the drawn-out mayor's race to Councilman Jim Lane more than two weeks after the last ballot was cast.Lane is maintaining a lead of more than 500 votes more than two weeks after the election. In a development that was a bit surprising to many observers, including me, he built on his 367-vote victory margin in September's primary. Most expectations were that while the Republican primary in CD5 would elevate Rep turnout in September, favoring the Republican Lane, the demographics of the general election, with the elevated number of Democratic voters turning out to support Barack Obama and Harry Mitchell, would favor Democrat Mary Manross.
"Jim Lane will be the next mayor," Manross said in a statement Wednesday morning. "I wish him the very best and also wish the new council success in leading our community."
Turns out that "many observers, including me" were wrong.
One new development during the rancorous campaign, and one that doesn't bode well for Scottsdale's long-term well-being, was the partisan nature of some of the attacks. One third party committee, "Republicans For A Bright New Day In Scottsdale", was formed on August 1st for the purpose of opposing Manross' candidacy. Through mid-October, the committee had expended over $23K to oppose Manross or support Lane.
The major contributors to the committee were Henry Becker ($5K), a long-time Manross foe from north Scottsdale, and Michael Fernandez (over $27K), who lists his profession as "sales" and his employer as "Paradise Distributing." In the committee's organizational paperwork, Fernandez lists his address as that of his employer.
According to Corporation Commission records, he is actually the president of Paradise Distributing Company, Inc., which sort of explains how a salesman at a pottery store could afford to give nearly $30K to the defeat of a candidate. :)
Anyway, back to the point - the city's Republicans turned a non-partisan race into one of pure partisan ideology, and with their nearly 2-1 registration advantage, can be expected to do so again in the future.
Especially since the tactic worked.
However, since as the record of the Bush administration demonstrates so clearly, hardcore Republican ideology is totally unsuited for practical governing. If Lane governs as if he owes the ideologues a debt for his successful election, Scottsdale is in trouble.
As a possible indicator of which way Lane's politics run, he was a strong supporter of then-Congressman JD Hayworth (R-Blowhard) in 2006.
Let me be clear - there are a number of Republicans (even here in Arizona) who approach the responsibilities of governing seriously and professionally and who don't let blind ideology gain sway over reality when it comes time to make decisions.
For the sake of Scottsdale and its residents, let us all hope that Jim Lane is one of them.
Note: The reason that Lane's September victory wasn't enough is that it wasn't large enough - because of write-ins and undervotes, he didn't receive more than 50% of the votes, which necessitated the November runoff.