In one of the most consequential city elections in memory, Prescott voters have chosen a new Mayor and a set of City Council candidates who have promised to bring reform to City Hall. The County Elections Office has announced that current City Councilman and Mayoral candidate Phil Goode, has won a landslide election to replace Prescott’s two-term incumbent Mayor, Greg Mengarelli. City Council candidates Eric Moore and Brandon Montoya have also won election to the Prescott City Council. The third seat will likely end up in a runoff between third place winner, Jessica Hall and fourth place winner, Grant Quezada.
Messrs. Goode, More and Montoya all ran on a message of reform, particularly with respect to slowing growth to protect the city’s water supply, controlling what many view as over-development, and preserving Prescott’s scenic beauty and quality of life. The strength of Mr. Goode’s victory confirms that his message of restoring transparency and integrity to city government found deep resonance with Prescott voters.
The County elections office mailed 37, 655 ballots. The unofficial results announced just after 7:00pm Tuesday night, reflected 20, 061 ballots cast, or just over 53% of total registered voters. These figures will change slightly as last minute votes are counted and technical ballot issues are resolved, but they are unlikely to change election results.
Reported votes for the mayoral race are 11,705 for Mr. Goode and 7,116 for Mayor Mengarelli, or 62% to 37%. The two successful City Council candidates are Eric Moore, who led the vote with 11,671, and Brandon Montoya with 10, 832. Newcomer Jessica Hall won third place with 7,767. Local businessman Grant Quezada was in fourth place with 7, 030. Long time City Councilman Steve Blair was in fifth place with 6 086, and former City Councilman and former Mayor Pro Tem Jim Lamerson, trailed with 4,963. Mayor Elect Goode was endorsed by Councilman Elect Eric Moore and Brandon Montoya, and incumbent Councilwoman Cathy Rusing, which will give him a working majority on the Prescott City Council.
The election was marred by what many voters considered smear tactics funded by “dark money”. A well funded, Scottsdale-based Political Action Committee registered under the name Arizona Residents Council, sent out mailers smearing Councilman Goode and council candidates Eric Moore and Brandon Montoya. TV and radio attack ads were also featured. Mr. Goode, who has strong ties to the veterans community and has been supportive of fire and police officials, was attacked for not supporting Proposition 443 which increased Prescott’s tax rate for the pension system for public safety workers. Messrs. More and Montoya, both small businessman in Prescott, were alleged to be anti- growth and anti-business. The decisive vote totals for these three candidates suggest voters rejected the smears.
Chris Kuknyo, Mr. Goode’s campaign manager, credited Prescott voters for rejecting the influence of dark money and voting for change. Another close observer of local politics, Dr. Lyle Rapacki, host of the locally produced videocast, Arizona Today, stated that Mr. Goode’s election is a “ huge setback for the local cabal, the local political establishment that has controlled Prescott and County politics for a long time.”
Former State Representative Noel Campbell who endorsed Mr. Goode, echoed Rapacki’s assessment, stating “ This election is a game changer.”
According to City Clerk, Sarah Siep, all successful candidates will take office at the City Council’s second meeting in November, currently scheduled for Tuesday, November 23, 2021.