By Alexander Lomax
I recently wrote about how crowded the race for Governor has become on the Republican side, but perhaps we can say the same about the Democratic side today. This morning (as of writing), Arizona legislator Aaron Lieberman announced that he will be running for Governor, joining Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez.
Lieberman is relatively new to the political world, currently in his second term representing Arizona’s 28th legislative district, a perennial battleground district covering Paradise Valley and parts of central and east Phoenix. Lieberman is a prolific fundraiser who raised over $250,000 for his first bid for office in 2018, and so he will definitely compete with the other Democratic candidates in that regard. The more salient question, however, is whether or not there is even room for him. In many areas of the Democratic primary voting populace, there isn’t an overwhelming desire for a white man with relatively little experience when there are other palatable (and many would say, superior) options.
So the question that many insiders have been asking over the last few months as the secret was dispersing, and many more are asking today…why? Why would he want to take on what seems like overwhelming odds? To take on both the most popular Democrat in Arizona and a Latino with a compelling story and experience? The answer that everyone keeps coming back to is…redistricting.
Arizona Democrats are very concerned about the final outcome of the Arizona Redistricting Commission’s current work and how it will be represented in our district border lines for the ’22 election and beyond. And with a Republican partisan as their Executive Director, Democrats probably should be concerned. Some battleground districts like 28 will likely move towards Republicans, imperiling seats for legislators like Lieberman. Considering that he has twice been the 2nd vote-getter to popular Rep. Kelli Butler, it’s an even tougher road for Lieberman. It is unlikely that he is the only legislator that has made or is making that calculus, but his example is a clear and obvious one.
At least this observer thinks that Lieberman would be better off trying his luck on re-election in whatever LD28 becomes. But one thing is certain: this will be a very expensive primary on the Democratic side. In just over a year from now, Democratic primary voters will be counting the days until it’s finally over.