Former Des Moines City Councilmember Anthony Martinelli (2019 – 2022) on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022 announced to The Waterland Blog that he will run for the same position that he previously held (Position #6) in the 2023 election.

Martinelli resigned in January, 2022, due to controversy over allegations of domestic violence against former partners. He was replaced by former councilmember Vic Pennington, who was appointed by council in March, 2022, and whose term expires Dec. 31, 2023.

Candidates aren’t required to file for elections until mid-May, 2023, so announcing this early is somewhat unusual.

“I stand proudly behind my record as a councilmember, which includes passing numerous proposals and helping to allocate millions of dollars to residents and businesses during an unprecedented pandemic,” Marintelli said in a press release. “I’m running because the city needs more independent voices on the council, more elected officials willing to actually listen to and engage with their constituents, and more leaders willing to stand as a check to the current city leadership.”

Here’s more from Martinelli’s press release:

Despite often being at odds with the council’s majority and city administration, and despite being elected as the youngest councilmember in city history (he was 29-years-old when sworn in on December, 2019), Martinelli said he was able to get several of his proposals passed by the full council, including:

    • A police body camera program
    • A resolution establishing racism as a public health crisis
    • Two separate business grant programs totaling over $1 million
    • A utility voucher program to help residents who got behind on their utilities due to the COVID 19 pandemic
    • Rental assistance for individuals and families
    • A mental health co-responder field team

Martinelli resigned in 2022 after being charged with domestic violence by Des Moines Prosecutor Tara Vaughn (who recused herself only after filing the charges). Although he adamantly denied the accusations, he stepped down from his position on the council in January because the situation had become “a distraction to the city I love.” Martinelli, as well as the alleged victim (now his fiancée), stated from the beginning that the charges were not true in the slightest (they were found to be based entirely on edited text messages sent in a Word document by his fiancée’s mother). Martinelli and his attorney reached a deal with the court to have all the charges dropped with no admission of guilt. Martinelli calls this deal “vindication”, and says he won’t make any further comments on the matter but will rather point people to a recent letter to the editor he authored explaining his side of the story.

“I’m confident that voters will examine the situation for themselves and realize that the allegations have no solid basis in reality, and thus I should be judged on my record as a councilmember, my desire to listen to and help my constituents and my deep history of volunteerism and working relentlessly to help our city,” Martinelli added. “If voters decide that they do not want me back on the council, I will fully and unequivocally respect their decision.”

Prior to serving on the council, Martinelli – a father of three – spent years working as a campaign manager and advisor to several elected officials and nonprofit organizations including King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. In 2011 Martinelli co-founded a successful business which he operated until 2019 when he sold it to an investment group prior to running for council.

Martinelli, who was born in Florida, moved with his family to Des Moines over 20 years ago when he was 11. He graduated from Mt. Rainier High School, took classes at Highline College (then called Highline Community College) and studied environmental science and journalism at the Evergreen State College. Among his notable achievements is obtaining a black belt from the World Taekwondo Federation and registering over 2,500 people to vote in King County alone.

Martinelli says he will launch an official website along with official social media pages in January.

Read our previous coverage of Martinelli, including Letters to the Editor, here.