It’s official: Ahwatukee has a native son of sorts in the race for Phoenix mayor.
Moses Sanchez, a veteran, immigrant, educator and small business owner, last week submitted over 3,100 signatures to officially qualify for the Phoenix mayoral election in November.
Sanchez submitted more than double the number of signatures required and said he personally collected nearly 1,000 signatures.
Moses Sanchez is the only Republican in the race, which also includes two Democrats who recently quit their City Council seats to run – Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela.
Nine other people pulled election packets and five of them filed declarations of their candidacy, but only two of those five filed the required petitions by last week’s deadline.
They are Tim Seay, a businessman who is describing himself as a Freemason, a member of one of the world’s most secretive and largest fraternal organizations. He is president of a Freemason lodge and the CEO of the Square-N-Compass Social Club. The other candidate is Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, the executive body of the Libertarian Party of the United States.
“We’ve spoken to thousands of voters throughout Phoenix who are tired of the dysfunctional status quo they see at City Hall. People are frustrated by their lack of access to their elected officials and feel like the size of their checkbook determines their ability to be heard,” said Sanchez. “But that changes today.
“Phoenicians of all backgrounds, in each district, and every neighborhood, regardless of political party, have made it clear they are ready for an outsider to bring real change to Phoenix. My diverse background and experience has prepared me to lead the fifth largest city in the country and I am looking forward to continue earning support in the lead up to the November election.”
Moses lives in Ahwatukee with his wife, Dr. Maria Manriquez, a gynecologist who is Interim associate dean for clinical curricular affairs at the University of Arizona’s Phoenix medical school. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.
An economics professor at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix who is director of operations for a digital marketing business he founded with his daughter, Sanchez is in the U.S. Navy Reserves. A veteran of 22 years in the U.S. Navy, he spent a year in Afghanistan and was a member of the Tempe Union High School Governing Board.
Only two candidates can survive the Nov. 6 election and head to a runoff in March.
Sanchez has said he believes that if he can capture only about 90,000 votes citywide, he has a good shot of making it to that March ballot.
Although citywide turnout is historically low, Sanchez noted that Ahwatukee generally has a higher than average turnout.
He noted that about 60,000 voters in Council District 6, which includes Ahwatukee, voted in the council election last year. That dwarfs the totals of around 8,000 that Gallego and Valenzuela received in their most recent election to council.
Sanchez is portraying himself as an outsider in City Hall politics, noting that it has been at least three decades since voters elected a mayor in Phoenix who did not emerge from City Council.
That positions him well, he asserts, to be free of special interests that he claims have led the council majority to more or less ignore neighborhood needs, including those in Ahwatukee. He also has slammed city officials for paying more attention to national issues instead of addressing local concerns.