Former homebuilder and entrepreneur Scott Smith is “seriously” considering a run for the Mesa mayoral seat — and he already has at least one high-powered Republican behind him.
Smith, 50, is planning on filing an exploratory committee within the next few days, and former Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., has already agreed to be the chairman.
“I’ve found there are a lot of people who desire a change in the way the city is run, who feel that it might be nice to get a fresh start,” said Smith, who resides in northeast Mesa. “Since I haven’t been involved in city government in a formal way, perhaps this is an opportunity to get that fresh start.”
Smith has an extensive business background. He has a law degree and an MBA from Arizona State University, he’s a certified public accountant, and he used to own Great Western Homes before selling it to K. Hovnanian Homes in 2003. Until recently, he also served as regional president of K. Hovnanian Homes.
He and Salmon met while serving together on the Mesa United Way Board, where Smith is the campaign chairman, and Salmon decided Smith is the kind of candidate he’d like to see in Mesa.
“He’s a Republican, which I love about him, but he’s a kind-hearted Republican,” Salmon said. “He really cares about social issues.”
Salmon said Mesa could really use some new blood in City Hall to get the city into “the 21st century.”
“We get stuck in this mentality of let’s not try anything new ... I think Mesa needs a real shot in the arm,” he said.
Smith, who is married and a father of three, expects to make a decision on running by the end of this month.
Other mayoral hopefuls include Vice Mayor Claudia Walters, City Councilman Rex Griswold, former state Sen. Tom Freestone and former Councilman Pat Gilbert.