6 to vie for 3 Chandler City Council seats The Chandler Arizonan

6 to vie for 3 Chandler City Council seats

6 to vie for 3 Chandler City Council seats
City News

By Kevin Reagan, Arizonan Staff Writer

Chandler voters will get to pick from six candidates to fill three city council seats in the Aug. 4 Primary Election.

The six candidates who filed petitions by the April 6 deadline include Beth Brizel, Christine Ellis, OD Harris, Rick Heumann, and incumbents Jeremy McClymonds and Mark Stewart.

Stewart is seeking a second term on the council and McClymonds will be campaigning for the first time since he was appointed to fill an empty council seat in 2018.

Heumann previously sat on the council from 2008 to 2016 before he got termed out. He has since spent the last few years serving on the Chandler Planning and Zoning Commission and has headed the Chandler Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee.

At least one new person will join the council this year because Councilman Sam Huang has chosen to run for congressional office rather than seek re-election to the council.

Huang is in a three-way race for the Republican nomination in the 9th Congressional District with businessman Dave Giles and pharmacist Nicholas Tutora. They are vying for a chance to take on first-term Congressman and former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who is facing a challenge in his party from activist Talia Fuentes-Wolfe.

Brizel, Harris, and Ellis will all be running their first campaigns for a council seat. Brizel previously served a four-year term on the Kyrene School District Governing Board.

It’s unclear how much the ongoing COVID-19 crisis will interfere with this year’s campaigns, but the pandemic was enough to convince one potential candidate not to turn in ballot petitions.

Joseph Curbelo, a real estate broker, discontinued his campaign in order to dedicate more time to his career and family during this tumultuous pandemic.

The remaining candidates are adapting to a new campaign reality that’s dictated by social distancing and no person-to-person contact.

Ellis, whose background is in the medical field, said her campaign has begun focusing more on digital strategies as the pandemic continues to keep voters indoors.

She said she has not shifted away from her focus on higher education and neighborhood resources due to the lingering health crisis but she has begun thinking about how Chandler is being impacted by the pandemic.

“I can rise above what’s going on right now and keep pushing forward,” Ellis said this week. “This is not the time to retract as leaders, this is the time to rise up and go forth.”

As businesses around Chandler continue adapting to change wrought by the pandemic, Ellis said she’ll be spending next few weeks trying to inspire the business community to stay resilient during this difficult time.

“Business is going to thrive again,” she added. “Tomorrow is another day.”

Harris said the crisis has motivated him to dedicate his time and energy to assembling a COVID-19 task force that’s trying to help provide donations to local nonprofits.

“It’s not about campaigning,” the candidate said. “It’s about getting the help and resources.”

Harris, an accountant and entrepreneur, said he’ll be prioritizing public safety and Chandler’s small business community throughout his campaign.

“It’s time for change in Chandler,” Harris said. “It’s time for people to give someone else a chance to make change and move the city forward.”

In the two legislative districts covering Chandler, the only primary contest will occur in LD 17, where incumbent Rep. Jeff Weninger is in a three-way battle for two spots on the November ballot with former Chandler Councilman Nora Ellen and Realtor Liz Harris.

Ellen is the mother of Sen. J.D. Mesnard, who has no primary opponent and will be battling in November with Democratic challenger Ajlan Kurdoglu.

There is no primary competition in either party for the LD 18 Senate and House seats.

Former Chandler Council member Jack Sellers also can coast through the primary in his bid for a full term as a Maricopa County supervisor. Sellers, who was appointed to the unexpired term of former Supervisor Denny Barney, will face Democrat Jevin Hodge, who has no primary challenger either.

San Tan Justice of the Peace Samuel Goodman is being challenged by Republican Warde Nichols, a former state legislator, in his district’s primary election.

Chandler residents must register to vote by July 6 in order to receive a ballot for the primary election on Aug. 4.

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