Scottsdale candidates head to November general election as race tightens

Posted 8/12/20

The field of candidates seeking Scottsdale’s elected office has narrowed, with six people officially moving forward in the race to City Council, while David Ortega and Lisa Borowsky will battle …

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Scottsdale candidates head to November general election as race tightens


The field of candidates seeking Scottsdale’s elected office has narrowed, with six people officially moving forward in the race to City Council, while David Ortega and Lisa Borowsky will battle to be the next mayor.

Scottsdale’s primary election was held Aug. 4, but it took nearly a full week for final election results to be released.

In the race for mayor, the field of five candidates has narrowed to two. Mr. Ortega garnered 15,076 votes in the primary, or 21.2% of all votes. Ms. Borowsky received 14,850 votes, or 20.9%.

The City Council candidates moving forward to the Tuesday, Nov. 3, general election, seeking to fill three open seats, are:

  • Betty Janik: 30,753 votes;
  • Tammy Caputi: 29,687 votes;
  • John Little: 25,742 votes;
  • Tom Durham: 25,140 votes;
  • Guy Phillips: 16,559 votes;
  • Becca Linnig: 15,770.

Ortega v. Borowksy

Heading into the general election this November, former City Council member David Ortega says his only motivation is to serve the city he loves.

“I, as well as my supporters, are excited and enthusiastic as we move forward to the general election. From the initial election returns to the final count, I am pleased to be the number one choice,” Mr. Ortega said.

Ms. Borowsky, also a former City Council member, is honored by all the support she’s received.

“I have met so many wonderful Scottsdale residents during my campaign, and I look forward to meeting many more as we move toward the general,” she said. “My supporters and I are energized at the prospect of making City Hall work for residents and work to protect our quality of life.”

When asked why she should be elected mayor, Ms. Borowsky says: “Because I am the most qualified to do the job, and I am the only candidate with a true reform agenda.”

Mr. Ortega, in contrast, points out he knows Scottsdale.

“Why am I best qualified to be mayor? Because I am a family man with the full Scottsdale 41-year experience,” Mr. Ortega said, “I bring unique planning architect and listening skills as well as city crisis management insight, when I served as councilman during 9/11. From bringing my wife and newborn children home, raising a family, being an active parent in their schools, practicing architecture successfully over 36 years and working with small businesses clients; I know Scottsdale.”

Mr. Ortega says voters want a mayor who will listen to them first.

“My campaign is about reconnecting residents with City Hall. Voters connected with me because we believe in win-win Scottsdale development; not high-density, tall buildings which encroach into our Old Town, or massive apartments jambing neighborhoods and a mega development invading the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which should remain pristine.”

Onto the next leg of the election

Following the primary, Scottsdale’s candidates are excited, and feeling grateful. However, the elite eight acknowledge the hard work that lays ahead.

Ms. Janik, who was close to receiving enough votes to be elected outright during the primary, says she’s tried to wrap her head around the election results.

During the primary, if a candidate reaches a certain threshold of votes, they can automatically be elected. The general election would then have been selecting two winners from a field of four candidates for the remaining open council seats.

“It’s a really positive feeling. I am totally appreciative of all the people who voted for me, and I hope to keep the momentum going into the general election,” Ms. Janik said.

“But I know we all start at zero again, and you need to work to get your name out there and your message out there. Hopefully it all carries through. It’s quite an honor.”

She said she believes voters don’t like actions taken by the current elected leaders and want to be heard.

“I think they feel that the developers are in control of City Council, and in control of their city. They want a say, and a seat at the table,” Ms. Janik said. “I think that came through loud and clear, especially with the mayoral election. I think we have a mandate now that we need to listen to and follow as far as what we want for the city. I think it’s good that we got such a clear message; I think that’s a very important message to receive from the voters.”

The campaign trail has been hard work, Ms. Caputi says, pointing out it was a team effort to qualify for the general election.

“I will continue to work as hard as I can through every medium available to get my positive, forward thinking message out to as many voters as possible,”

Ms. Caputi said. “I will continue to listen to the concerns of voters, and I will keep sharing ideas and solutions to help move our city forward, rebuild our economy, protect our health and get our kids back to school.”

Ms. Caputi said of all the candidates, she believes she stood out because voters were seeking a well-rounded candidate with experience to lead the city, but isn’t an “insider.”

“Voters want someone who has a vested interest in our city, a vision that resonates and the ability to enact it,” Ms. Caputi said.

“I think voters connected with me because I have children in our local schools, I run a business that generates revenue in our city, I’m a longtime Scottsdale homeowner and taxpayer who treasures and uses our desert trails every day and can balance the need for open spaces with nurturing our economic drivers to keep our city successfully moving forwards.”

Mr. Little says he is grateful for the support he received residents, business owners, teachers, Realtors and public safety organizations.

“Nothing could be more important than listening to and responding to resident concerns,” Mr. Little said. “Accordingly, we will continue to connect with people focusing on the things that are top of mind to voters. Safeguarding our residents and their children during the pandemic, proposing creative and effective ways to restore our economy vitality and preserving and protecting property values and high services levels.”

Mr. Little says while he was campaigning this summer, he’s hearing residents are “scared and they are fed up with all the fighting.”

“They are disgusted by the government’s inability to deal with the pandemic,” said Mr. Little.

“They are worried about the local economy, rising unemployment, civil unrest and many are concerned about paying their rent or making their next mortgage payment. Young families are terrified and confused over simply sending their kids back to school. People are also fearful Scottsdale has lowered its standards for quality development and want to see changes. They want to elect candidates who will stop arguing and actually fix things.”

Mr. Durham says Scottsdale residents will always know that his votes are based on the best interests of the city, and not who supported his campaign.

“Betty Janik and I share a common vision for the future of Scottsdale, and the voters apparently agreed with that message, since we finished in the top four in the primary election,” Mr. Durham said.

“Our message is thoughtful growth, which respects Scottsdale’s unique character; adoption of a new General Plan with substantial citizen input; and above all, to listen to voters concerning the future of Scottsdale. I believe that this is the message that Scottsdale voters want to hear, and so my strategy is to make sure this message reaches as many Scottsdale voters as possible.”

Mr. Durham says since starting his campaign, he’s heard from residents regarding concerns about height, density and the accompanying traffic.

“I am honored that so many Scottsdale voters have placed their confidence in me to represent them on the City Council,” Mr. Durham said. “I felt that Scottsdale voters deserved a choice in how their city operates, and I am grateful that my message has resonated with so many voters, and I am looking forward to the general election.”

Guy Phillips is the only incumbent seeking re-election to the Scottsdale City Council. Candidates Suzanne Klapp and Virginia Korte were running for election to mayor, but did not garner enough votes to be in the general election.

“Scottsdale needs leaders at this time, and my past record has shown I have the experience and leadership needed to bring us back from this nightmare,” Mr. Phillips said.

“Public safety is my number one priority and the only way Scottsdale can revive is to be assured we are a safe community and that tourists, your family, your home, and your business will be protected. What we don’t need are candidates with ideological dreams to fundamentally change Scottsdale to their idea of a social utopia and to use your tax dollars to fund their schemes.”

Candidate Becca Linnig says there is still a lot of work ahead in the race for City Council.

“This is the second round in a three-round fight that I have had to overcome,” Ms. Linnig said. “The first was back in April when my petition signatures were challenged and now the primary. I am in it to win it and I will fight just as hard in the future for the residents of Scottsdale.”

Ms. Linnig says she will continue to talk to as many voters as possible, although she noted the limited community events happening now.

“When thinking about the future of Scottsdale, it’s important to apply the same mindset and principles going forward as our historic leaders applied when they envisioned the greenbelt instead of a cement canal. We have a lot of work to do and we need leaders that can keep an open mind and offer unique solutions,” Ms. Linnig said.