Election 2020

Gilbert’s Town Council election in the Aug. 4 primary will see 10 candidates battling over four seats.

The deadline for candidates to file for a ballot spot was April 6.

Seeking the mayor’s job are Lynne King Smith, Gary Livacari, Matt Nielsen and Brigette Peterson. Peterson resigned her Council seat in March to run for mayor after Jenn Daniels announced in early February she would not seek re-election.

Candidates running for the two Council seats that carry four-year terms are   incumbent Scott Anderson, Tyler Hudgins, Busola Obayomi and Kathy Tilque. Councilman Jared Taylor opted not to run again, leaving his seat a free for all.

For the two-year Council seat, Laurin Hendrix and Bill Spence will face each other. Spence currently occupies the seat after he was appointed March 17 to serve for nine months. 

This is not a typical election year for Gilbert which should have seen three of the seven Council positions possibly change hands.

Instead, the Council has had to deal with three vacancies as sitting members sought other elective offices.

First to leave was Councilman Eddie Cook in February, followed by Councilwoman Peterson in late March and Councilman Jordan Ray on April 6.

Cook was appointed Maricopa County assessor, while Peterson is seeking the mayor seat and Ray is running for a justice of the peace job against four other Republicans.

Cook is battling one other Republican in the primary to challenge the Democratic candidate in November for assessor.  

The Council’s first appointment was Spence to replace Cook, followed by Scott September, who will finish Peterson’s remaining two years on the term.

Spence and September were selected from a list of eight finalists the Council pared down from 103 applicants that sought Cook’s seat. 

Council last Tuesday was scheduled make an appointment for Ray’s seat but after a nearly two-hour closed door session, Daniels announced they were at an impasse.

“Unfortunately, in our Council executive session we were unable to come up with an agreed upon individual in order for us to move forward,” she said. “There will be a new process announced on April 21.”

Daniels previously stated she wanted to have a full Council on board when they meet for this Thursday’s financial retreat. 

It’s anticipated the Council will have to make tough decisions dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Chandler, Scottsdale and Mesa already are preparing to make drastic cuts in their budgets.

Council candidates who win a majority of the votes are considered victors for the office they are seeking.  If there is not a majority vote, the unfilled seats go on to a general election in November.

Voters also will see contested races for their state representatives.

In the Legislative District 12 State House, incumbent Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert and fellow Republicans Jake Hoffman and Mark Boesen are fighting for two November ballot spots. No Democrat filed, so the winners are assured seats in the Legislature in January.

For the LD12 Senate seat, House Majority Leader Warren Petersen and Democrat Lynsey Robinson are unchallenged in their respective primaries. The seat was held by Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, who is retiring from public office.

In LD 17, three Republicans are running for the two November ballot spots in a district that serves western Gilbert, Sun Lakes and a large portion of Chandler.

Incumbent Jennifer Pawlik, D-Chandler, faces no challengers in the primary while incumbent Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler, faces Nora Ellen and Liz Harris in the GOP primary.

Ellen is the mother of incumbent Republican Sen. J.D. Mesnard, who faces no opposition in the LD 17 Senate primary. He will face Democrat Allan Kurdoglu in November.