By Alexander Lomax
Is it too early to think about 2022? Well it seems like quite a few people would like to fast forward to the end of Governor Ducey’s term, so why? The 2016 election saw four Democrats winning statewide office in Arizona, and while the Governor’s race was a blowout a few factors very likely ensure that that will not be the case in 2020.
Since Governor Ducey will be termed out, we will have a new Governor regardless of which side of the aisle they come from. So who are the likely candidates to keep an eye on?
On the Republican side, the most likely potential candidates who seem to have gotten the most buzz from this side of the peanut gallery seem to be Attorney General Mark Brnovich and State Treasurer Kimberly Yee. AG Brnovich has been somewhat non-controversial and non-confrontational for someone looking to stand out and move up in this writer’s opinion. He certainly hasn’t been a super-villain full of antagonistic bombast towards those on the left, and combined with fundraising prowess makes him potentially formidable in a general election, but a primary is a bigger question.
Yee is an interesting option; sitting in the seat that was the stepping stone for the current Governor, she has been checking the boxes for winning a Republican primary. Her support of the past President was unwavering, and her very public support of Proposition 208 certainly got her some favors towards that end. She may have some tough questions to ask in a general election, but those actions make her a formidable primary opponent.
On the Democratic side, two names that are most frequently thrown around are current elected officials: Congressman Greg Stanton and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Stanton has charm, charisma, strong fundraising prowess and national connections. However he has some catching up to do to build name ID and awareness across most of the state; he will be able to raise enough to bridge that gap however. Hobbs is the former Senate Minority Leader who has established strong connections throughout the state and has already demonstrated the ability to win statewide. Another dark-horse name who you will likely hear more about in the next year is former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez. The political wunderkind became a Congressional page at 16, Mayor at 23, and considering that he is listed as a senior advisor to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, something tells me that fundraising won’t be a problem for him. I could easily see him making a strong run and surprising much of the political chattering class.
Democrats still have an uphill battle to win the seat, especially against either of the two Republicans listed. This liberal is hoping that a wild card (in the truest sense of the term) enters the fray on the Republican side. If someone like Kelly Townsend or Kelli Ward gets in and wins the primary, it would be the most wonderful gift possible. This purple state has rejected craziness previously, and I doubt 2022 will be any different.