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McClusky wants GOP mayoral nomination

Republican Shaun McClusky, a 38-year-old real estate broker, will make a bid to become mayor of Tucson, he said Wednesday.

"Nothing's changed since 2009 [when McClusky ran for City Council]," he said. "I pulled the (campaign) paperwork 3 weeks ago, and I'll file it today."

"The state of the city is getting worse. We have an ineffectual mayor and council," McClusky said. "I still care about the city more than anybody else."

"My chances (of winning) are as good as anyone else's," he said.

The co-owner of Rincon Ventures, a real estate and property management firm, jumped into politics two years ago with a run for the southside Ward 5 seat. Democrat Richard Fimbres won that race.

McClusky headed the effort to defeat the Proposition 400 half-cent city sales tax bump last year. The measure, which would have raised $50 million to close the city's budget gap, was rejected by 61 percent in November.

Mayor Bob Walkup, who was first elected in 2000, has yet to declare if he'll seek another term.

McClusky isn't deterred by the prospect of challenging a sitting mayor.

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"Our mayor sits back, he's nothing more than a rubber-stamp for the council," McClusky said.

"When did the city work? Twelve to 15 years ago, Tucson had a government that got things done," McClusky said. "The city's run in a reactive fashion. The mayor's in over his head."

The Republican said that "public safety and basic security" would be his focus.

"We need to streamline Sun Tran," he said. "The city's in dire straits. We need a comprehensive look across all areas, with zero-based budgeting. Right now, if you have a million-dollar budget, you have a million-dollar budget next year."

"We need to take a collective look at everything. We should privatize the concessions for Parks and Recreation. We should have TEP (Tucson Electric Power) put up solar panels at Reid Park in exchange for advertising (on them)," he said.

McClusky ran into a bit of hot water in his last campaign.

After November's election, he was hit with a $18,450 fine for failing to list the top contributors to the anti-400 campaign in a TV ad. McClusky raised just over $16,000 for the entire effort.

"We're talking with the city," McClusky said. "We've talked them down to $12,300, if we have to pay."

"We still maintain we didn't do anything wrong. We've offered to pay $450, which is three times the video's production cost, in line with the statute. If we have to go to a mediator, or take it further, we will," he said.

"I'm just a novice at this," McClusky said of his alleged campaign violation.

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Before becoming politically involved, McClusky worked in real estate and "sold cars for Jim Click," he said.

He co-founded Rincon Ventures in 2007, and built up its property management business to 327 properties, he said.

Other candidates possible

Beside McClusky, Bill Holmes and Ron Asta are rumored to be considering Republican mayoral runs.

Asta, who unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat in 1983, served one term on the Pima County Board of Supervisors in the early '70s.

Holmes is a community relations manager for Wells Fargo bank.

Ray Depa, the former general manager of KGUN-9, has said he's not running, despite rumors. Depa is working for the Tucson Padres Triple-A baseball team.

On the Democratic side, attorney Jonathan Rothschild has lined up a long list of supporters for his exploratory campaign. Rothschild has yet to officially announce that he's running.

Other Democrats who may seek the mayoral chair include Councilwomen Shirley Scott and Karin Uhlich, if Rothschild's growing campaign doesn't head them off. Former councilman Rodney Glassman, who lost his U.S. Senate race to John McCain, is running to lead the state Democratic party, but there are rumblings he may run for mayor if that bid fails.

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