Mesa mayoral race pits incumbent John Giles against Verl Farnsworth

Giles seeking second full term as Mayor

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midiman (Flick'r)

The LDS Temple is considered the centerpiece of Mesa's Downtown

Ole Olafson, Reporter

The Mesa Mayor race is looking to be a one-on-one battle between the incumbent John Giles and candidate Verl Farnsworth.

Giles became the 40th mayor of Mesa in 2014 after former Mayor Scott Smith left the post to run for Governor against Doug Ducey.  Smith lost in the primary and Giles won.  Two years later, Giles went on to be reelected to his first full four-year term after running unopposed for the office in 2016, according to ballotpedia.org.

Giles earned a Political Science degree from Brigham-Young University and a law degree from Arizona State.  According to sources, he has operated his own law firm in Mesa for the last two decades.

According to Giles’ bio at the website mesaaz.gov, he has added thousands of new jobs, along with bringing companies like Apple and Textron Aviation to Mesa.  The page also claims that his efforts have resulted in $3.2 billion in new capital investments.  His agenda is characterized as pro-business and pro-education.

Giles has reportedly set fundraising records in his bid for a second full term, raising some $250,000 from local contributors.  Giles claims the campaign funds are transparent and appropriate.  His opponent contends otherwise.

Verl Farnsworth will run against Giles in next months’ primary.

According to a Jan. 26 story in the East Valley Tribune, staff writer Jim Walsh describes Farnsworth as an “outspoken critic” of the Mesa City Council.  In 2018, he reportedly ran against councilmember Dave Luna, described as a Giles supporter, in an unsuccessful attempt to win the District 5 seat.

On his campaign website, Farnsworth accuses Giles of ignoring the city’s voters by raising taxes to support a project with ASU in downtown Mesa.  He also refers to some of Giles’ actions as mayor as “corrupt”, claiming that he has cost the city millions of dollars by engaging in land sales which benefited businesses or donors who had contributed to his campaign.  Farnsworth goes on to contend that Giles has raised utility rates and supported raising property and transaction taxes in an effort to repair financial damage that he has caused the city.