Mar 14, 2023 - Politics

Phoenix elections: Hodge Washington ousts Garcia, Robinson beats Stone

Two side-by-side headshots.

Kevin Robinson and Kesha Hodge Washington. Photos: Courtesy of Robinson and Hodge Washington campaigns

Voters elected two political newcomers to the City Council — retired Phoenix police assistant chief Kevin Robinson and local attorney Kesha Hodge Washington, unofficial race results show.

  • They will take office April 17.

State of play: Hodge Washington defeated incumbent Council Member Carlos Garcia in District 8, which includes parts of south and downtown Phoenix.

  • In District 6, Robinson beat Sam Stone, former chief of staff for Council Member Sal DiCiccio, who currently represents the district but was term-limited.

Why it matters: The new members will help lead the city through a turbulent economy and make decisions about issues like affordable housing, policing and homelessness.

The intrigue: Mayor Kate Gallego may have been the biggest winner of the night. Replacing DiCiccio and Garcia — the council's most conservative and most liberal members, respectively — should allow the mayor to build a more moderate coalition to support her political priorities.

  • Gallego, a Democrat, has found herself fighting against a more progressive faction of the council — led by Garcia — for most of her tenure as mayor.
  • She endorsed Hodge Washington after her impressive showing in the November general election, inciting even more tension on the council during the past four months.

1 rare thing: It's highly unusual for elected incumbent council members to lose a re-election race — it hasn't happened in at least two decades.

Of note: This'll be the first time in city history that Phoenix has two Black council members serving at once.

What we're watching: Garcia will serve through two more formal council meetings before Hodge Washington's inauguration.

  • We expect Garcia's council allies to try to push through some of their priorities while they still have his vote — most notably, a controversial mobile home park zoning overlay that would stop the redevelopment of three parks.
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