Hobbs brings national issues into Democratic gubernatorial primary

Arizona’s Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs (D), announced her bid to serve as Arizona’s next governor just one week ago, and she is already finding herself in-between a rock and a hard place.

Much like the questions surrounding the 2020 election’s legitimacy will haunt Republicans seeking to serve in the U.S. Senate or at the Ninth Floor (the 9th Floor refers to the floor of the Arizona Executive Tower at which the Governor’s Office is housed), the question of the filibuster looms over the Democratic primary. 

Nonetheless, the filibuster was not expected to take any sort of prominent place in the gubernatorial primary considering that it is a question of the U.S. Senate’s rules and procedure, not state policy.

Hobbs and Lopez come out swinging

Since her campaign’s announcement, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has taken to social media to lament her feelings regarding key national policy issues, including the U.S. Senate’s filibuster. 

While her sentiments have appeared to have earned her some sizable support from those on the left, many people on the right, and in the middle, are criticizing the Secretary for her stance.

Furthermore, many on the right are asking that Hobbs emulate Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), or West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). Both of these Democrats have recently been attacked by members of their own party due to their breaking allegiance with top Democratic leaders — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — on various issues, most recently the filibuster.

Unlike much of the Democratic leadership, Sen. Sinema and Sen. Manchin both do not agree with the notion of destroying the filibuster. The duo have emerged as stalwart supporters of keeping the Senate rule in the spirit of bipartisanship and compromise in Congress.

Marco Lopez, the former Mayor of Nogales and the other Democrat currently vying for the Governor’s Office, Tweeted out soon after Hobbs:

Skeletons in the closet

Hobbs has some pointed remarks looming over her gubernatorial campaign in Arizona. Tweets and posts from social media’s past are bound to follow her. 

In 2017, Hobbs tweeted about then-President Donald Trump and his supporters. Hobbs accused large swaths of Trump voters across America as a “neo-nazi base.” This commentary will surely follow her into the general election, should she emerge victorious from the primary. This being said, social media posts and Twitter feuds are just one concern for Hobbs’ campaign to be Arizona’s next chief executive.

The perfect balance

Currently, Hobbs is campaigning as a champion of voter rights. In order to push this presentation of herself, Hobbs and her team have linked removing the filibuster to the notion of securing equal voting rights and equal representation for Arizonans. This is likely a strategy that will benefit her amongst many of the more ardent Democrats in the state, but probably not too many others outside of that left-leaning voting group. This is clearly being seen already because even top Democrats in the state disagree with Hobbs’ filibuster stance — particularly Sen. Sinema. 

Hobbs may be stuck between angering her best chance at winning the general election — siding with the seemingly more moderate Sen. Sinema, and Arizona’s vast moderate and unaffiliated voting base — and her perceived need to shift left on key issues in order to win her primary. This same issue can be seen among Arizona Republicans, who must navigate garnering support from the state’s Republican core and its moderate factions.

Finding that “perfect balance” in Arizona is something many candidates have failed to accomplish. Simply look at the 2018 gubernatorial election in Arizona between Republican incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey and Democrat contender David Garcia: Garcia (D) swung left, alienating independent and moderate voters in Arizona. As a result, Garcia lost abysmally — barely capturing over 40% of the entire vote. 

This “perfect balance” is integral to winning statewide campaigns in Arizona, especially considering that the state is split, essentially, in thirds: Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

Robert Bean is the northern Arizona political correspondent for the Western Tribune.

Published by R. M. Bean

Graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2021 with a BS, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Business. Moved to northern Arizona in the Fall of 2017. Fell in love with the people and the area not long thereafter. Follow me on Twitter: @realBobbyBean

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