Arizona Governor race heats up as field widens

Over one year before Arizona’s August primary, and even longer before the state’s general election, contenders are lining up to run for the seat incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey is termed out of. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election analysis firm, has rated the 2022 race as a “toss-up” — making Arizona’s gubernatorial race one of only three “toss-up” Governor races next year.  

Widely regarded as a “swing state”, Arizona is in the crosshairs of left- and right-wing interest groups, with Democrats eyeing an upset and Republicans aiming for a hold. The Republican Governors Association, of which Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey currently serves as Chairman, has declared its intent to dedicate plentiful resources to recruiting a suitable candidate for the race and winning the contest for the eventual Republican nominee. 

The Democratic Governors Association has harshly criticized the GOP field of nominees, saying that incumbent state Treasurer Kimberly Yee “has continually put partisanship and far-right propaganda above the needs of Arizonans.” 

As of May 18th, 2021, two Republicans and one Democrat have officially launched their campaigns for the governorship of one of America’s most important swing states. 

State Treasurer Kimberly Yee (Republican) 

The first Asian-American woman elected to a statewide position in the entire United States, Arizona’s State Treasurer Kimberly Yee has been considered a potential gubernatorial candidate since she won her first statewide race by over 9% in 2018. She was also the first Asian-American woman ever elected to Arizona’s state legislature, and the first Asian-American woman to serve as the State Senate’s majority leader. 

Having campaigned for former President Donald Trump in 2020, Yee has already made the former President a centerpiece of her campaign. In her announcement video, Yee declares her intent to follow through on “President Trump’s America First” agenda, focusing in on immigration, job growth, economic opportunity, and border security. 

Karrin Taylor Robson (Republican) 

A member of the Arizona Board of Regents, a body charged with regulating and overseeing Arizona’s public universities, Robson is well-known for her involvement in state politics and industry. The founder of a political consulting firm, Arizona Strategies, Robson is no stranger to campaign life. 

Announcing hours after Yee, Robson positioned herself against the Biden Administration: “We’re going to fight for Arizona values, and I’m going to spend the next few months visiting your community and hearing from you about how we can stand together and fight the radical Biden-Harris agenda.” 

Marco Lopez (Democrat) 

The sole Democrat to jump into the race so far, Lopez has experience in both the private and public sectors.  A former border mayor, Lopez was elected Mayor of Nogales in 2002, serving as one of the youngest people to ever serve as mayor throughout the entire United States. He has operated as an international business consultant in recent years, but served former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as an aide, and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim as an advisor beforehand. 

His campaign has centered around “the promise of Arizona”; emphasizing education, jobs, and healthcare. He has taken to Twitter already to buck his Republican competition, reposting Yee’s announcement video and saying, “We cannot afford four more years of Trump and Ducey’s failed leaderships and attacks on our democracy.” 

Potential candidates 

Besides Yee, Robson, and Lopez, there are several other Arizonans considering gubernatorial runs. 

Former Congressman and current Vice President of Government Affairs for Arizona State University Matt Salmon is rumored to be exploring a run. A Republican, Salmon left Congress in 2016. 

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was considering a run for the governorship, but sources within his political orbit now indicate that he is running for Senator Mark Kelly’s seat in 2022 instead. 

Democrats considering a run include Congressman Greg Stanton, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Congressman Ruben Gallego, and more. 

Published by Joe Pitts

Joe Pitts is the Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of the Western Tribune.

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