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Former Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon staying out of race

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LISTEN: Phil Gordon, former Mayor of Phoenix

PHOENIX — The race for Phoenix mayor has begun with two candidates but former officeholder Phil Gordon is taking a pass at a return.

“I looked at (running) a few months ago, did some polling, would love to, but right now … the answer is no,” Gordon told KTAR News 92.3 FM Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday.

A week after Mayor Greg Stanton announced he was running for Congress, Councilwoman Kate Gallego and Councilman Daniel Valenzuela were the only first hopefuls to make their intentions official.

Gordon, who was mayor from 2004-2012, was certain more names would follow, including from the council.

He guessed Michael Nowakowski would run.

“I would not rule out Thelda Williams,” Gordon said. “There will definitely be some people not on the council.”

Williams has served as interim mayor before and unsuccessfully ran for the office in 1995.

If Stanton wins the 2018 election to take over Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s CD-9 seat — she announced in September she would run for Senate — he will have to, per city law, resign his mayorship.

It’s a job that requires “a lot of energy and a desire to meet with people,” Gordon said.

It’s also best if the candidate has “knowledge of how the government works and how the private sector works and (understanding) the community. (It takes) a lot of experience.

“That’s why, traditionally, most of the mayors have come from the council or within government.”

The job is also, per city charter, nonpartisan.

“Working together is the only way we’re going to way to get things done, and keep this country safe and our city,” he said.

Phoenix is unique, he said. “We’re the only city in the top 15 that has a manager-council form of government. Meaning really, the manager is CEO. The mayor is only one of nine votes. The mayor has be a consensus builder if you want to get anything done.”

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