Mar 1, 2024 - Politics

Ryan Winkle runs for Mesa mayor after being kicked off its council in 2017

A headshot of a man wearing a suit and red tie.

Photo: Courtesy of Ryan Winkle

Ryan Winkle is asking voters to send him back to Mesa City Hall as mayor seven years after the former councilmember was booted from office following a DUI arrest.

Why it matters: Mesa Mayor John Giles is termed out, and Winkle joins a long list of hopefuls who want to lead the Valley's second largest city through an era of growth and development.

Catch up quick: Winkle was arrested by Tempe Police in 2017 — four months after he took office. He was found to have a blood alcohol content 0.22 and served six days in jail. It was his second DUI.

The latest: Winkle formally launched his mayoral campaign Thursday night.

What they're saying: "I don't worry too much about [competitors using the DUI against me] because it's a fact of life. It's something that's made me and made the person that I am," Winkle told Axios Phoenix.

  • He said he spent a lot of time in therapy working through his past issues and talks openly about that chapter of his life.
  • He added the community has been overwhelmingly supportive.

Zoom in: Since leaving public office, Winkle said, he's continued his community work through his nonprofit, which works with businesses and neighborhoods in low-to-moderate income census tracts to build upward mobility.

  • He's also the chair of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Arizona Fair Housing Center.

What's next: The election is shaping up to be a competitive one.

  • Seven other people have submitted statements of interest to run for Mesa Mayor on July 30, including former Mayor Scott Smith and current Councilmember Mark Freeman.
  • All candidates have until April 1 to submit 1,000 valid signatures to qualify.
  • If no candidate gets more than 50% of votes, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.
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