The majority of the debates were over and the start of early voting was set to begin in a little more than a week.
But as the late July deadline to file as a write-in candidate rapidly approached, two-time City Council candidate Bill Crawford decided to join the mayor's race and take on Mayor Mary Manross and her opponent, Councilman Jim Lane.
While his campaign had a late start, Crawford has been aggressive in getting his message out. He created a Web site and has fired off e-mails and letters to newspapers and others that includes criticism of Manross as well as pushing his own ideas.
"The issues I've been advocating for are not getting addressed and ... no one will do it unless I get in the race," Crawford said, explaining why he decided to join as a write-in, meaning his name will not be on the ballot.
Crawford said his goal is to win, and his Web site gives examples of write-in candidate success, which is still extremely rare and typically occurs in much smaller communities.
Crawford said Manross' No. 1 "blunder" is the loss of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey arena to Glendale. He criticized the $1.2 million master transportation plan, which initially included a position on light rail but instead, after public pressure, did not include a recommendation. Crawford said he supports light rail along the Loop 101 corridor.
Crawford said the mayor has failed to sign a long-term deal with Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and he would support building a new facility for the auction house.
"I feel if she's re-elected, we'll lose Barrett-Jackson," Crawford said.
And Crawford is the only candidate highlighting illegal immigration as part of his platform. Crawford, a member of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Posse, said he supports a city ordinance that would make it illegal to rent to anyone in the United States illegally.
Crawford's attacks on Manross have upset Lane supporters, who fear some anti-Manross votes could go to Crawford instead of Lane. Crawford has responded that he's not dropping out.
While Crawford said he has a lot of respect for Lane, he said: "Every criticism I have is linked to a remedy with a plan and visions, and voters can see that."
Crawford ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2004 and 2006, the latter as a write-in candidate.
The fitness center owner and downtown resident was involved in supporting council districts, which lost at the polls. He supported the failed Canals of Scottsdale project and the hockey arena plan.
He petitioned the city to appoint a city treasurer pursuant to the city charter. At the time, then-City Manager Jan Dolan was also occupying the treasurer position. Crawford said he's concerned about the budget and overspending, saying the city could be at risk of losing its AAA bond rating.