The mayor and three council members of Arizona’s third-largest city will run unopposed in their fall re-election bids, as no challengers met Mesa’s Wednesday deadline to qualify for the ballot.
Only one potential opponent had been collecting signatures to appear on the Aug. 28 ballot, but he fell far short of the requirements.
That will lead to easy campaigns for Mayor Scott Smith and the three councilmen up for re-election: Alex Finter, Dennis Kavanaugh and Dave Richins. All are seeking a second four-year term in the non-partisan election.
Few residents contacted Mesa to even inquire about the election, City Clerk Linda Crocker said. The only resident collecting signatures recently was Ralph Brandt, who was mounting a challenge to Kavanaugh in District 3. Brandt is a member of the American Third Position, a party that promotes the interests of whites and has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Brandt needed 233 signatures to qualify for that southwest Mesa district. He turned in 131 signatures Wednesday afternoon, Crocker said.
Smith was elected mayor in 2008 after a three-way race along with competition for council positions open at the time. But in 2010, no competitors challenged incumbents Dina Higgins and Scott Somers. One open position to replace outgoing Vice Mayor Kyle Jones produced a race between Chris Glover and Vic Linoff, which Glover won.
The incumbent mayor and council members have said they view the lack of challengers as a sign voters are happy with the direction of the city. Some major initiatives currently under way:
• A major recruitment effort to bring colleges to downtown Mesa.
• A $99 million Chicago Cubs spring training complex set to open in 2014.
• Efforts to revitalize downtown with the upcoming light rail extension and through more events like the Arizona Celebration of Freedom.
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