Attorney Cordero Delgadillo believes late Pine District Councilman Carlo “Rocky” Leone would have been supportive of his campaign.
Delgadillo is running as a write-in candidate in the Tuesday, August 27, special election to fill Leone’s former seat, which the longtime councilman vacated in April due to health reasons. Leone passed away in June.
The two got together on several occasions when Delgadillo was assisting Brittany Delgadillo Burback’s campaign for the Acacia District last year. Vicki Hunt ultimately held the seat.
“He (Leone) endorsed her (Burback) and I think that he would also endorse my campaign,” Delgadillo said. “It’s one of the reasons why I’m going to try to, despite being a write-in candidate, really encourage people to look at the candidates and to consider beyond the qualifications the care and the long-term desire that I have to benefit this community.”
Other ballot-by-mail election choices would have been interim Pine District Councilwoman Denette Dunn and Randal “RJ” Rains. The latter, however, withdrew from the election recently.
With Delgadillo being the sole official write-in candidate, he is now the only challenger to Dunn.
Delgadillo’s campaign platform is based on three main ideas: Make the community safer, encourage and involve the community, and improve and protect people’s opportunities and legal rights.
As an attorney, his background lends a hand to the latter.
In 2014, Delgadillo graduated from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law with honors and certifications in law, science and technology.
He has worked at a large law firm and a small cybersecurity firm. He now co-manages Sublime Law Firm.
“There’s no other lawyer on the council,” Delgadillo said. “You might understand policy, you might have government relationships, but there is a difference between understanding legal implications of state rules or laws or regulations that are coming up.”
Delgadillo calls himself a “hometown boy.” The council hopeful grew up in Peoria’s Pine District, attending local public elementary schools like Sun Valley and Country Meadows as well as Peoria High School.
“I understand the big picture. I understand the small picture. I understand the people. I grew up there. I lived there. I went to the elementary schools. So, I want to make sure that the people that I understand are kind of looked at and not overlooked,” he said, adding that he wants to ensure the Pine District receives “a little bit of extra tender love and care.”
During Delgadillo’s senior year at Peoria High, he and two classmates won first place national honors in an entrepreneurship competition at Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda’s (FBLA-PBL) National Leadership Conference.
Before Delgadillo studied law, he focused on nonprofit leadership and management and business through the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
While at ASU, he became FBLA-PBL’s western region vice president, through which he said he represented Arizona, Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. He has also lobbied Congress to fund career-technical education programs like Future Teachers of America and Future Farmers of America.
His lengthy resume also includes volunteerism and nonprofit work, such as involvement with organizations like the Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way.
Ultimately, he said he decided to run for the council seat once held by Leone because he wants to give back to and make a difference in the community that made him who he is today.
“I wanted strong leadership to continue, and seeing the current (council) makeup, I didn’t really feel confident in the way that I would, say, if Carlo remained in the council seat. And so that essentially spurred me to action,” Delgadillo explained.
“And despite knowing that I would be a write-in (candidate), I felt compelled to fight for a council seat so that I could fight for my district, so that I could fight for the constituents in it and try to influence the decisions that they make in a better way, not just for the constituents of mine, but for the betterment of Peoria. I care about the community beyond just Pine residents, and that’s the driving force really, is I wanted to be able to influence.”
And although he feels Leone would have been supportive of his bid for council, he admits the two share their differences.
“I do bring different assets to the table,” Delgadillo said. “I do have a different point of view in some respects, but I believe in consistently fighting for your constituents, even if it makes you, in some cases, unpopular.”
But Maricopa County’s special election process does write-in candidates no favors, he feels. These choices are not listed on ballots. Currently, voters can seek out the Maricopa County Recorder’s website to view a list of write-in and withdrawn candidates. This is a concern, as Delgadillo said it is limiting to voters.
“When you’re starting to restrict choice of a valid candidate from your residence, from your voting population, I don’t think that’s a good practice. And I think it’s a somewhat easy fix,” Delgadillo said.
“I received something yesterday, perhaps, that was notifying that the other candidate (Rains) had dropped out and that a vote cast toward him will not count toward the election. That’s all fine and well, but if that development merits an announcement, why not announce the other valid candidate (Delgadillo)? Because now it seems like an endorsement from city officials of the one valid candidate (Dunn), which really there’s two.”
Ballots were scheduled to be mailed to all registered voters within the Pine District starting July 31. Despite Rains still being listed on ballots, votes for him will not be counted.
The Maricopa County Elections Department recommend ballots be mailed no later than Wednesday, August 21, to ensure they are counted.