More Than Just Veto Power: Governor Hobbs Finds New Power via Attorney General

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Governor Katie Hobbs has had a rough half-year as Governor, but that seems as though it may have been halted by the hire of Chad Campbell as her new Chief of Staff (learn more here). And it seems as though the fruits of that change are already blooming with a new executive order, and in the process demonstrates that her power may not just be purely veto power.

In this recent executive order, Governor Hobbs directs that the Attorney General shall not prosecute any doctors or providers that perform abortions in this state. This was obviously in conjunction with the office of AG Kris Mayes, who has shown a desire to maintain the ability for women to get abortions in Arizona. While this certainly would be a point of contention with a Republican AG, there are clearly no objections from Mayes.

Up until now, her power had largely been relegated to vetoing bills that she did not like. To be a thorn in the side of Republican legislators is not entirely irrelevant or unimportant, but it is certainly limiting. This perhaps opens up an entire new end-around sort of power, and also demonstrates the importance of the Attorney General seat and its election.

So why hadn’t this been done before? It’s likely safe to say that it didn’t because of her previous Chief of Staff. Allie Bones was much more of a friend and confidant than a strategist in this regard. This has the fingerprints of Chad Campbell all over it; Campbell was a former House Minority Leader and seasoned insider who is clearly better versed at strategic thinking when it comes to getting Hobbs to use her seat as effectively as possible.

We are not here to tell you how you should feel about abortion; there is an excellent chance that whether you’re for or against it, or have viewpoints contingent on when that abortion would take place (like we assume most of you do), your mind won’t be changed by this blog, nor are we trying to. But it is a rather remarkable shift in the thought process of the Hobbs Administration, one that seemed to be previously stuck in a vanilla approach to the seat to one that is willing to think outside of the box and be flexible in order to achieve its aims.

Our takeaways? One, every statewide seat (save perhaps State Mine Inspector) can have quite a bit of sway when coupled with a Governor from the same party. Two (and not a surprise), who you choose for your staff is incredibly important, because it is becoming apparent that Chad Campbell is far more capable of achieving the aims of Hobbs than Allie Bones ever could be.