Saturday, January 28, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Arizona Secretary of State, a Democrat, Throws Hat in Race for Governor

Katie Hobbs says Republicans in the Copper State aren't doing anything to make the lives of Arizonans better.

TUCSON, Ariz. (CN) --- Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat and vocal critic of the widely panned Republican-led review of the 2020 election in the state’s most populous county, announced Wednesday she is running to replace termed-out GOP Governor Doug Ducey.

“The other side isn’t offering policies to make our lives better,” Hobbs said in a three-minute announcement posted on Twitter. “They only offer conspiracies that make our lives worse.”

Hobbs’ office sued to block an audit of Maricopa County ballots ordered by the GOP-led state Senate. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, also dominated by Republicans, opposes the months-long audit as well. The audit is being conducted by a Florida cyber-security contractor with no election experience and has been widely criticized by election and other auditing professionals.

Hobbs had to get state police protection when she got death threats after the election was certified. She opened her governor’s race announcement with a shot of armed protesters outside the building where her office was supervising the vote count this past November.

“We had a job to do, and that job was simple --- count every vote,” Hobbs said. “When you’re under attack, some would have you believe you have two choices --- to fight or give in. But there’s a third option. Get the job done.”

The Secretary of State’s Office website has kept a running tally of problems seen by observers of the audit, which is being done at a Phoenix sports arena. The list includes gates to secure areas left open, unauthorized cellphones on the counting floor, and the use of black pens which are normally not allowed during election audits because black marks can be mistaken for marks made by voters.

In the Democratic field, Hobbs joins former Nogales Mayor and state Department of Commerce director Marco A. Lopez Jr. Lopez also served as chief of staff of U.S. Customs and Border Protection under President Barack Obama.

On the Republican side, candidates include state Treasurer Kimberly Yee, a former suburban Phoenix state senator and representative; former land-development attorney Karrin Taylor Robson, a Ducey-appointed member of the Arizona Board of Regents, which manages the state university system; and Kari Lake, a longtime anchor for Phoenix's Fox affiliate..

Arizona is on a decades-long arc turning from red to blue.

President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by just over 10,000 votes to become the first Democrat since Bill Clinton to win the state. Voters have sent two Democrats --- former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema and retired astronaut Mark Kelly --- to the U.S. Senate since 2018.

Two of the state’s past six governors were Democrats, including Janet Napolitano, who left during her second term in early 2009 to serve as Obama's secretary of Homeland Security.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.