Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this article misstated some of candidate Anni Foster's experience.
Four people have collected enough signatures to appear on the primary ballot for Maricopa County attorney.
Amidst questions about her sobriety and absences from office, former county attorney Alister Adel’s recent resignation triggered a special election to serve out the remainder of her term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2025. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will appoint an interim county attorney.
Adel’s announcement gave potential candidates just two weeks to collect the more than 4,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
Gina Godbehere, Anni Foster and Rachel Mitchel will vie for the Republican nomination, while Julie Gunnigle will be the only Democrat on the ballot. The primary election will be held on Aug. 2, and early voting begins on July 6.
Gina Godbehere, Republican
Godbehere is a former bureau chief and trial attorney who handled juvenile, gang, homicide and repeat offender cases at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
She was the designated bias crimes prosecutor for over a decade and currently serves as a municipal prosecutor in Goodyear. She is the CEO and co-founder of “Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life,” a conference that focuses on “encouraging students to speak up about depression, suicide, grief, abuse and bullying.”
“The public must know that the Maricopa County attorney is a fair-minded advocate for justice with a record to offer that confidence," Godbehere said in a statement on her campaign website. "My years as a prosecutor, combined with my commitment to the youth of our state, have provided a clear picture of my core values and heart to do what is right within our community."
Anni Foster, Republican
Foster currently serves as Gov. Doug Ducey's general counsel.
She previously served as assistant attorney general chief of staff and general counsel to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Victim's rights advocate Steve Twist is leading Foster’s campaign committee.
“I bring nearly two decades of experience dealing with the issues facing Arizona and Maricopa County, and experience leading large teams of attorneys," Foster said in a statement to The Arizona Republic. "For much of my career, I’ve worked directly with law enforcement, and even trained them on the law. Those that must interact with the County Attorney’s Office are often having some of the most difficult times of their lives. I will dedicate myself to protecting the rule of law and ensuring justice for all.”
Election guide: 2022 primaries
Rachel Mitchell, Republican
Mitchell has 30 years of experience as a prosecutor. She has served as a Bureau Chief at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office “overseeing teams of prosecutors for 17 years, including the sex-crimes bureau, which prosecutes crimes that involve child molestation and adult sexual assault.”
She was one of the five division chiefs who called for Adel to resign in February and sought investigations by the State Bar of Arizona and the Maricopa Board of Supervisors.
Mitchell received national attention in 2018 for her role as an interrogator in a congressional hearing leading to the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brent Kavanaugh.
“What is really important to me is that the person who takes the helm of the County Attorney's Office has the experience to do it," Mitchel told The Republic. "No one has more experience than me. It is going to take someone who knows the office inside and out ... and has the ability to communicate a vision."
Julie Gunnigle, Democrat
Gunnigle has worked as a private practice attorney, as a prosecutor in Indiana between 2006 and 2007 and in Illinois from 2009 to 2011.
She narrowly lost the county attorney race to Adel in 2020. Following Adel's resignation, Gunnigle received enough signatures to qualify for the ballot less than 24 hours after announcing her candidacy.
She worked for a time as director of political and civic engagement for NORML Arizona, a marijuana reform advocacy organization and is the legal director for Arizona Campaña de los Pobres, or Poor People's Campaign, where she helps connect people facing eviction with legal representation.
"For too long, this office has been the center of controversy and has failed to work in the best interests of justice," Gunnigle said in a statement to The Republic. "This office needs a full-time county attorney focused on making smart reforms in the interest of all members of our community, not holding on to the broken status quo. I am running to be a champion for public safety by protecting women, children, and our seniors; all while holding those that do harm in our community accountable."
Republic reporters Stacey Barchenger and Robert Anglen contributed to this article.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: These candidates will appear on ballot for Maricopa County attorney