Former Phoenix City Council members Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela are facing off in the mayoral runoff election for Phoenix on Tuesday. They were the top two vote-getters in the special election on November 6, 2018, when neither candidate surpassed the 50 percent threshold to win outright. Gallego received 44 percent to Valenzuela’s 26 percent in a field of four candidates.
While the election is nonpartisan, both candidates are Democrats who made similar votes on the City Council. They have primarily diverged on spending issues, such as financing the Phoenix Suns arena. Valenzuela supported a tax on rental cars and hotel rooms to support the project, saying it would promote tourism. Gallego said the professional sports industry should pay for its own facilities and that the public funds would better be spent elsewhere
Gallego’s top three priorities would be public safety, infrastructure investments, and job growth. She said she has experience and a proven track record on infrastructure issues, pointing to her work on the campaign to pass Proposition 104, a measure seeking to bring $31.5 billion of infrastructure spending over the next 35 years through a transportation sales tax increase.
Valenzuela said his policy priorities included attracting, retaining, and developing talent, and motivating technology and high-growth companies to remain in Phoenix. He said that he brought an increased focus on public safety to the City Council, including helping to secure $50 million in grants for public safety issues and developing the Canyon Corridor Crime Safety Initiative.
If elected, Valenzuela would be the city’s first Latino mayor. Gallego would be the first woman elected to the office in more than three decades.
The election was called after former Mayor Greg Stanton resigned his seat to run for Congress.
Two special elections for District 5 and District 8 of the Phoenix City Council—the seats Gallego and Valenzuela resigned from—are also on the ballot on March 12.