Wednesday, October 22, 2014

¶lim¶Dead Heat

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Traditionally nonpartisan and suspense-free, the Phoenix mayoral election goes down to the wire on November 8 with the city’s first runoff vote in six decades. Bye-bye, civil transfer of power. Hello, slashed tires and partisan bickering. 

 

Iwant Greg Stanton to call Wes Gullett a “dangerous and unprincipled capitalist toadie,” but the affable ex-City Councilman won’t oblige. Nursing a cup of burnt coffee in the midtown sandwich shop where he sometimes spends his mornings, Stanton – an always-smiling 41-year-old – characterizes his opponent’s lobbying career as an “ethical liability” in the race to be the next mayor of Phoenix. Still, he strikes a conciliatory tone. “Look, Phoenix is a strong city,” the Democratic frontrunner says. “It was strong before I got to City Council. It will be strong when whoever wins [the election] leaves.”


Later that same day, I try to get Gullet to call Stanton a “devious union-kissing pinko.” Once again, no dice. Seated in his cluttered corner office at Phoenix-based First Strategic Communications and Public Affairs – the office that he has promised to relinquish, along with his partnership in the firm, if he wins the mayoral runoff on November 8 – Gullett lives up to his reputation in political circles: He is thoughtful, self-possessed and hardly prone to superlatives. Smoothly deflecting the conflict-of-interest issue (“I only spen

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