Who is running for governor of Arizona? These are the major candidates in the race

·7 min read

Arizonans will choose their next governor in November 2022, following primary elections in August to determine who will represent each party on the ballot.

Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican who has held the post since 2015, can't run again after serving his second term in office.

While the election is more than a year away, a crowded list of people are actively campaigning for the seat.

Whoever wins will hold the top elected position in Arizona. The governor is the head of the state's executive branch, which implements laws and policies. The governor proposes the annual state budget and signs into law or vetoes bills passed by the Legislature. Other duties include appointing judges, including to the state Supreme Court, along with members of the Arizona Board of Regents.

The governor can also issue executive orders, which became a frequent and sometimes controversial practice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the Republican candidates are highlighting similar issues for their campaigns, such as strengthening border security, election integrity, expanding education and economic development.

Democratic candidates also are focusing on similar issues, including expanding education, affordable healthcare and economic development.

These are the people who want to be Arizona's next governor:

Republican candidates for governor

Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks at the Back the Blue Rally on Oct. 2, 2021, in Cave Creek, Arizona.
Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake speaks at the Back the Blue Rally on Oct. 2, 2021, in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Kari Lake

After 22 years as a local TV news anchor for Fox 10, Kari Lake has turned her focus to politics and the Governor's Office.

Overseeing a campaign that has echoes of former President Trump's bids for office, Lake is running for governor with an "Arizona first" slogan, which she defines in a campaign video as meaning opportunity for everyone.

Her campaign website lists her key issues, including vaccines and COVID-19 mandates. She opposes any mandates and will seek to ban them if she wins office. She also has lit masks on fire during campaign stump speeches.

Lake has promoted false election conspiracy theories and claims that Trump actually won the 2020 election. She wants to ban any election counting equipment that relies on computer software and has called for election audits in other states. She also said she would deploy the Arizona National Guard to the border, which Ducey has done during both the Trump and Biden administrations.

Lake brings built-in name recognition with Arizonans due to her decades as a broadcaster, though she has made criticizing the media a central tenet of her effort. She was endorsed by Trump in September.

Election guide: 2022 primaries

U.S. Senate | Governor |Secretary of state|Legislature | Treasurer | County attorney |Attorney general| District 1 | District 3 | District 4| District 5| District 6|District 8| District 9 | City council

Scott Neely

Scott Neely is a small business owner and laborer who started his career working for his families building materials, concrete equipment and supplies company.

Neely promises on his campaign website to represent everyone and states he is running for governor "to promote greater prosperity for all working Arizona families." Neely states that, as governor, he will "spearhead" economic growth in Arizona and create more jobs.

Neely's campaign issues include strengthening election integrity to ensure Arizonans can trust elections. He will ensure all Arizonans have equitable access to voting and will push for legislation to address voter fraud.

In supporting of resuming border construction, Neely states that he has previously helped build the border wall in Nogales and Douglass and plans to be hands-on with the building process on Arizona's state land.

Other campaign issues include supporting Arizona's senior population and strengthening K-12 education in Arizona through various steps including ensuring Hispanic students are meeting the standards expected of all students.

Arizona businesswoman and former regent Karrin Taylor Robson
Arizona businesswoman and former regent Karrin Taylor Robson

Karrin Taylor Robson

Karrin Taylor Robson, a developer and former member of the Arizona Board of Regents, also is seeking the GOP nomination. She was first appointed as a regent by Ducey in 2017 and resigned earlier this year to focus on her campaign.

A Mesa native, Taylor Robson plans to travel the state during her campaign.

Taylor Robson's campaign website highlights the issues she views as most important, including border security, election integrity, opposing abortion and supporting veterans. She does not list specific policies she would implement in most areas, though.

Taylor Robson is the founder and president of a land-use firm and formerly served as the president of DMB Associates, a development company for master-planned communities. She also worked as an attorney with Biskind, Hunt & Taylor, P.C.L, where she focused on land use, development, and zoning law.

Matt Salmon
Matt Salmon

Matt Salmon

After several previous elected positions, Matt Salmon now is running for the Governor's Office.

Salmon previously served multiple terms as a member of Congress, where he co-founded the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative members of the House of Representatives. He also was elected to the Arizona Senate and is a former chair of the Arizona Republican Party.

Salmon's campaign website lists his vision to "keep Arizona a dynamic, growing state", including enforcement of immigration laws and strengthening voter ID laws. He wants to hire more math and science teachers and grow the state's economy through tax cuts and attracting new industries and jobs.

Salmon has released two policy plans outlining how he would aim to strengthen both the economy and public safety. Following the results of the Maricopa County election audit report, Salmon called for a statewide audit on 2020 election results.

Paola Tulliani-Zen

Business owner Paola Tulliani-Zen is running for Arizona governor, describing herself as "the people's choice."

Tulliani-Zan states on her campaign website, "I know how to make deals, bring people together, create and implement solutions, and overcome obstacles." She has gained this experience through her business ventures, such as her drapery company and her cookie business, La Dulce Vita.

Tulliani-Zen lists border issues as a campaign priority. She said she will follow Trump-style approaches of authorizing sheriff's deputies to arrest and deport people who enter the country illegally. Tulliani-Zen also said she would join other governors to demand action from Congress.

As governor, she said she would push for youth prison reform and take action to rehabilitate youth through "academic education, drug and alcohol awareness programs and religious instruction." She said she would demand adequate water allocation to meet Arizona's growing population, redirect unused water into needed areas and work to release federal land to the state.

Steve Gaynor, Jorge Rivas and Kimberly Yee, who had announced their candidacies earlier, have withdrawn from the race.

Democratic candidates for governor

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs

Katie Hobbs

As Arizona's current secretary of state, Katie Hobbs is tasked with overseeing elections and was outspoken against the Maricopa County election review. That platform has brought her national attention as she runs for governor.

Hobbs served in the Arizona Legislature from 2010 to 2018. She co-sponsored bills that became law, including the Opioid Epidemic Act of 2018 and a bill dedicated to eliminating the backlog of sexual assault evidence. Hobbs became the Senate Minority leader in 2014.

Hobbs' campaign website lists the priorities she would focus on in the Governor's Office, including; equitably rebuilding the economy, strengthening public education and creating jobs. She does not say specifically what she would do to achieve those goals.

Hobbs' drew criticism from conservatives and former President Trump after the 2020 election and due to her opposition to the Maricopa County election audit. Despite the criticism, Hobbs' campaign site states that she, "stepped up and fearlessly delivered an historically secure election for Arizona voters."

Former lawmaker Aaron Lieberman, who served Arizona Legislative District 28.
Former lawmaker Aaron Lieberman, who served Arizona Legislative District 28.

Aaron Lieberman

Aaron Lieberman is a former lawmaker who represented Paradise Valley and north central Phoenix starting in 2019. He resigned from the Legislature in September to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.

Lieberman has advocated for childhood education and is the co-founder of Jumpstart, a nonprofit organization providing programs to preschool kids. He also co-founded Acelero Learning, a head start school program.

While education and Arizona's COVID-19 recovery are the central points for his campaign, his campaign website lists other policies he will campaign on, including protecting the environment, infrastructure and trade, and a tax plan.

Lieberman also was the CEO of the Phoenix Spine Surgery Center before joining the venture-philanthropy firm New Profit as a partner.

Marco López is running for governor of Arizona
Marco López is running for governor of Arizona

Marco López

A former mayor of Nogales while in his 20s, Marco López has also led the Arizona-Mexico Commission and worked in the Arizona Department of Commerce under former Gov. Janet Napolitano.

López also served as chief of staff for U.S Customs and Border Protection under President Obama.

He wants to transform Arizona's education system, ensure affordable health care, promote economic development and address border issues, according to his campaign website. López has yet to release more detailed plans on these policies.

López has worked in the private sector for nearly a decade with a consulting firm called International Business Solutions and is a founding partner with Skybridge Arizona, a business assisting American companies with exporting products to Mexico.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona governor: Who are the Republican and Democratic candidates?

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