A full week after Scottsdale’s Aug. 4 Primary election, residents finally found out which mayoral and City Council candidates will advance to the General Election this fall.
The crowded slate saw five candidates competing for mayor and nine candidates competing for three open City Council seats.
Former Councilmembers David Ortega and Lisa Borowsky advance to the Nov. 3 election, according to the final vote tally released by the County Recorder on Aug. 11.
Ortega led the close primary contest from the outset in the first batch of results on Aug. 4, but the second spot appeared up for grabs shortly after those early results came in.
Borowsky initially sat in third place less than 100 votes behind Councilwoman Virginia Korte but soon leapfrogged into second spot when additional results came in.
Though the race remained close, Borowsky never relinquished her hold on the second spot after that point.
With all votes counted, only 226 votes separated Ortega and Borowsky.
And Korte and former Councilman Bob Littlefield both trailed Borowsky by around 500 votes.
The top six candidates in the City Council race will also move on to the General Election.
Betty Janik led all candidates with 17 percent of the vote and had 1,066 more votes than the next closest candidate.
The other candidates that qualified are Tammy Caputi, 16 percent of the vote; John Little, 14 percent; Tom Durham, 14 percent; incumbent Councilman Guy Phillips, 9 percent; and Becca Linnig, 9 percent.
Candidates Bill Crawford, Michael Auerbach and Kevin Maxwell failed to advance.
Janik came up just 28 votes short of being elected outright. To be elected outright, a candidate must receive a majority of votes cast.
Had she been elected outright, only four candidates would have advanced to compete for the remaining two seats, meaning Phillips and Linnig would have been bumped off the ballot.
Janik said her overwhelming lead reflected voter priorities.
Janik told the Progress she decided to run in October 2019 due to concerns that an increasing number of zoning change applications approved by City Council did not reflect resident priorities.
“I think what it says is that the citizens want to be listened to; they want to be respected; it’s their city, Janik said. “And I think it says that they have not been listened to very much in the past, so hopefully I can be their voice on City Council.”
Janik said a similar message “came across loud and clear in the mayor election, too.”
Both Ortega and Borowsky offered similar critiques of the current city leadership, arguing residents are dissatisfied with the status quo.
“That was a statement of the election that was we need to change direction in the city,” Ortega said.
“I think the takeaway from both the Council and the mayoral standings is that our residents, our citizens are dissatisfied with what has gone on in the city, at least over the past Council term and maybe longer,” Borowsky said.
Borowsky said that is why voters chose her and Ortega over incumbents Klapp and Korte.
“I do believe actually that if the incumbents of the current council were making decisions or advocating in a direction for Scottsdale residents…in a way that they felt represented, I think (the incumbents) would have done better,” Borowsky said.
There is also some evidence that voters were turned off by the increasingly partisan fight in the officially non-partisan mayoral and council contests.
Toward the end of the Primary season, voters were inundated with mailers and text messages boasting about one candidate’s party affiliation or denigrating another’s.
But in the end, the most votes in each election went to Janik and Ortega, who are both registered as independents.
Janik said voters were turned off by the partisan bickering.
“I do think most people want candidates who are in the middle,” Janik said. “I don’t think they want the extremes. I think they’re tired of all the arguing and the name calling.”