Photo ktar
Who is running for Arizona’s governor election?Photo ktar

Arizona will have a new governor following the upcoming election cycle in 2022. Republican Doug Ducey can’t run for reelection due to term limits, ending an eight-year run. Several candidates from both sides of the aisle have declared their candidacy to become the state’s 24th governor.

Here’s the list of high-profile candidates, which will be updated as necessary:

1.Katie Hobbs, Democrat

Photo nytimes
Photo nytimes

Hobbs, Arizona’s Secretary of State, revealed her candidacy June 2.

Although Republicans are running on former President Donald Trump’s policies, Hobbs is addressing unfounded allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election repeatedly pushed by Trump and many state Republicans. Hobbs has denounced the so-called audit organized by Arizona state senators to review the 2020 presidential election ballots, and told CNN she thinks “this whole thing is a joke.”

“In 2020, against all odds, in the middle of a pandemic, we proved that democracy works,” Hobbs said in a video announcing her campaign. “It’s been my job and life’s work to make government work for the people of Arizona. That’s why I’m running.”

Among gubernatorial candidates, Hobbs was at the top of the power rankings by OH Predictive Insights, a market research firm in Phoenix, even before officially announcing her candidacy. The rankings are based on an online survey of 935 registered Arizona voters conducted the first week of May. Respondents were asked to rate 40 notable Arizonans, regardless of whether any of them actually intend to seek office.

In her campaign announcement, Hobbs noted her efforts to expand Medicaid for seniors and implement the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act in 2018, which offered increased access to treatment and opioid overdose countermeasures, such as Naloxone.

As governor, Hobbs promised she would protect survivors of abuse, rebuild the post-COVID-19 economy, invest in health care and education and “ensure that your race, gender or ZIP code does not dictate your destiny.”

2.Kimberly Yee, Republican

Photo Arizona Republic
Photo Arizona Republic

Arizona Treasurer Yee launched her campaign May 17 with a video that champions former President Donald Trump’s business and border policies and at times echoes his rhetoric. Yee, an Arizona native, was elected treasurer in 2018. Prior to that she served in both chambers of the state Legislature, including a time as Senate majority leader.

Yee, who is state treasurer and the first Asian American to be elected to a statewide office in Arizona, promised to focus on border control and security in a video released May 17.

“Washington is simply not going to protect Arizona,” she said in the video, adding D.C. is “refusing to enforce the law, opening our state to drug cartels, violence and human traffickers.”

Yee, who also praised Trump’s economic policies and attacked the “corrupt press and socialist ideals,” is ranked third in OH Predictive Insights’ power rankings.

READ MORE: Who is Kayleigh McEnany - press secretary for Donald Trump?

3.Kari Lake, Republican

Photo 12news
Photo 12news

Lake, a former Valley TV anchor with Fox 10 for 22 years, announced June 1 her candidacy. Lake’s website describes her as a candidate who “stands as a symbol of truth in journalism and represents the growing ranks of journalists who have walked away from the mainstream media market peddling fake news.”

In her campaign video, she pledged to tackle homelessness, synthetic drug use, Arizona’s “out of control border” and other issues if elected.

“I’ve earned the trust of Arizonans across our state by bringing the real story into your living room night after night,” she said, calling for an “Arizona First” approach to governance, echoing Trump’s “America First” motto.

“Arizona history suggests that Arizona voters look kindly on television broadcasters,” said Jason Rose, a political consultant who has worked for Ducey, former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

The history Rose is referring to is Hayworth, who was a sports reporter for the CBS affiliate in Phoenix before representing the East Valley in Congress from 1995 to 2007.

But there are different types of star power and name recognition when it comes to the ballot box in Arizona: Hayworth failed to unseat Sen. John McCain in the 2010 primary.

Notably, in OH Predictive Insights’ power rankings, Jack McCain, son of former Sen. John McCain, followed Hobbs at second place on the list. He has not announced a run for any office.

Lake resonates “with the base of a Republican Party still very much defined by former President Donald Trump,” The Arizona Republic said this week, noting that she has recently attended events sponsored by groups who contend the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Lake isn’t the only Republican to use an “Arizona First” tagline.

4.Karrin Taylor Robson, Republican

Photo Rose Law Group Reporter
Photo Rose Law Group Reporter

Taylor Robson, secretary of the Arizona Board of Regents, calls herself a “lifelong conservative Republican” in her campaign video, is the founder and president of Phoenix-based land use strategy company Arizona Strategies.

Robson, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, also announced her candidacy for governor in mid-May, promising to fight “the radical Biden-Harris agenda.” In her campaign video, Robson pledged to travel the state and hear from Arizona communities about their needs.

The Board of Regents oversees the three state universities of Arizona. Robson has served on the board since 2017.

On the OH Predictive Insights power ranking, Robson came in 18th and Lopez came in 20th.

5.Marco Lopez, Democrat

Photo AL DIA News
Photo AL DIA News

Former Nogales Mayor Lopez became Arizona’s first formal governor candidate on March 16. Lopez, 42, a small business owner, served in the Obama administration and won the mayoral election in the border town when he was 22.

Lopez, former mayor of Nogales, announced his candidacy for governor in March, making him the first Democrat to enter the race.

His campaign video primarily focused on rebuilding Arizona’s economy, and criticizing policies implemented by Ducey, who was first elected in 2014.

“State leaders failed us as coronavirus cost us lives and hammered our economy,” he said in the video. “And our Legislature is run by extremists promoting bizarre conspiracy theories instead of actually getting things done for you, the people.”

Lopez promised more investment in education, more technology and manufacturing jobs, and greater access to health care for Arizonans.

Lopez mentioned growing up as a child of immigrants and small business owners. He also put emphasis on his work as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief of staff during the Obama administration.

Other individuals who have filed a statement of interest with the Secretary of State’s Office for governor:

Mykala Cain-Reagan (D)

Steven “Paco” Noon, Jr. (D)

William “Bill” Moritzky (L)

Steve Remus (L)

Ameer El Bey (R)

Kelly Garett (R)

David Hoffman (R)

Michael Pavlock, Jr. (R)

Paola “Z” Tulliani (R)

Wayne Warren (R)

Donald Trump won’t be on Arizona’s 2022 ballot, but he may as well be since the fate of the increasingly crowded field of gubernatorial contenders are somehow tied to him and his mischief.

Just look at the batch of hopefuls seeking to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

This week, Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs kicked off their bids for the Republican and Democratic nomination, respectively, basking in the popularity gained because of Trump.

Is there room for other candidates in this race?

It’s not too early to start asking whether there will be room for candidates who aren’t fixated on or closely affiliated with Trump.

Undoubtedly, fighting conspiracy theorists fixated on destroying the country’s democratic ideals is paramount.

But at some point, Arizonans must also look deeper at the candidates and what they say they’ll do to improve our lives – not just fight Trump.

For instance, entrepreneur and former Nogales mayor Marco López is building a campaign for the Democratic nomination on a promise to lift everyone up, not just the chosen few.

He isn’t banking on popularity gained on Trump’s back or other possible Democratic gubernatorial contenders, like Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton.

On the Republican side, Karrin Taylor Robson’s bid has totally been drowned out precisely because Trump hasn’t made her famous. She’s a member of the Board of Regents that oversees the state’s three public universities – an important gig but one that doesn’t rile up anyone.

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