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Baker ousts Luz from Phoenix mayor's office

Challenger Terry Baker unseated Mayor Chris Luz in Phoenix Tuesday.

The initial vote count Tuesday evening showed Baker with 1,187 votes to 857 for Luz, a 58% to 42% edge for the two-year position.

“They haven’t tallied all the votes yet last I checked,” Baker said at 9:30 p.m. “I feel pretty confident.”

Baker campaigned on bringing the community together through transparency and unification. In recent years city government has been under scrutiny by residents who have been critical of city officials.

“My sincerest hope is we can come together as a community of people who care about each other ... regardless of our political views,” said Baker. “I want the council to run transparently so there is no concern, no doubt, no questioning. We may disagree, but we will know honestly where we stood.”

Baker grew up in the town, went to Phoenix High School, and says he has a lot of contact with residents because he lives near the post office.

Social media likely played a strong role in his campaign success, Baker said. He crafted a half-dozen videos in which he explained his positions. He also did a little door-to-door campaigning, had others do that, and had a group of friends who talked to voters.

“I wish the City Council and Terry Baker all the best in dealing with the fire. If I can help at all, I’ll step in to help,” said Luz. “It’s been a weird year with the disaster, with not campaigning going on.”

Once the fire hit Sept. 8, Luz said, he was dealing with the disaster and did not do any campaigning.

Baker and others, including council and community members, had criticized Luz’s leadership style during his tenure. Luz was seeking his third term and previously served on the City Council. Baker resigned from the council in May after three plus years of service, citing a lack of respect on the body and frustration with the mayor’s demeanor.

Three four-year seats on the City Council were also filled. Four candidates sought the positions.

Planning Commissioner Krista Peterson received 1,313 votes, 28% of the total. Political newcomer Karen Shrader garnered 1,238 votes, 26% of the total. Incumbent Councilor Al Muelhoefer received 1,160 votes, 25% of the total. Brain Buckner, in fourth place, got 891 votes, 19%.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Terry Baker
Terry Baker