Retail Traffic

Shopping Center Exec Loses Senate Bid

One Democrat who is not celebrating today is Arizona shopping center developer Jim Pederson. Pederson, former Democratic state chairman, used a chunk of his personal fortune in an unsuccessful effort to unseat Senator Jon Kyl in the most expensive race in Arizona history.

The two-term Republican incumbent got 52 percent of the votes, Pederson had 44 percent and Libertarian Richard Mack received 3 percent; with 95 percent of the precincts reporting.

Pederson, who is founder and chairman of the Phoenix-based Pederson Group, spent an estimated $10 million out of his own pocket. The total tab for all three candidates was $25 million, spent primarily on TV ads.

Pederson, 64, trailed Kyl throughout the campaign, challenging the two-term senator on issues ranging from stem-cell research and abortion to his support of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

ICSC didn't return calls from Retail Traffic to ask if Pederson had received funds from its political action committee. Pederson did not return calls placed to his campaign offices.

Pederson started in commercial real estate development working for the Grossman Company and then Phoenix-based Westcor. There he rose to manager for all of Westcor's shopping centers.

In 1983, Pederson formed his own company, developing Goodyear Village Center in Goodyear, Ariz. The company owns 25 shopping centers among its developments throughout Arizona. They include Bell Tower Village, Mesa Shores and Tempe Square.

Among those Pederson's most proud of is a Target shopping center in South Phoenix. In published reports, he cites, the economic turnaround of a once blighted community was worth giving Target the land in exchange for opening a store there.

A shopping center the developer will long be known for is in Scottsdale. It was the entrée into Arizona for In-N-Out Burger. Pederson became known as the man who brought the California-based burger chain to the state.

In June 2005, Pederson stepped down as chair of the Arizona Democratic party, a seat he had held since 2001. As state chair, Pederson campaigned for Janet Napolitano, who won the governorship. He also chaired the Fair Election Campaign initiative that promotes fairness in the legislative and congressional redistricting process.

-- Riccardo A. Davis

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