After threats and election conspiracies, Maricopa County supervisor won't seek reelection

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates said he won't seek reelection in 2024, adding to the roster of election officials leaving or declining to run for political office amid a wave of unfounded voting conspiracies and threats.

Gates currently represents District 3, a politically purple area spanning from north-central Phoenix to Anthem and New River. It includes portions of Paradise Valley and a small part of northern Peoria.

The news that he won't run in the upcoming race to represent the district comes after the Board of Supervisors faced false allegations of election fraud following the 2020 and 2022 elections. He will still serve out the rest of his term, he said in a statement Thursday, and intends to pursue "other interests and opportunities."

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates addresses the media during a news conference at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix on Nov. 10, 2022.

"As this chapter comes to an end, I rest well knowing that I led with integrity, compassion and dignity," he said. "Regardless of personal partisan preferences or external pressure, I remained focused on making our region the best place to live, work and raise a family."

Who is Bill Gates?

Gates, a Republican, was first elected as a supervisor in 2016 and won reelection in 2020.

Before joining the board, he served seven years on the Phoenix City Council, where he represented Sunnyslope, Moon Valley and other parts of northeast Phoenix. Maricopa County's District 3 encompasses most of his former council district.

He holds a law degree from Harvard University and has practiced law in Phoenix for 25 years. He also serves on numerous nonprofit boards.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates gavels the general election canvass special meeting to an end on Nov. 28, 2022, in Phoenix.

Gates served as chairman of the board during the November 2022 midterm election. Weeks later, during a board meeting filled with conspiracy allegations, outbursts and threats, he voted with his colleagues to certify the results of those races before a crowd of angry protesters.

In May, he publicly shared that he had been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of election-related harassment, which has often been endorsed by members of his own political party.

In his Thursday statement, he thanked his wife and three daughters for supporting him amid the turmoil of the past several years.

"Thank you for being my rock, my foundation and my inspiration," he told his family. "The past few years haven’t always been easy; however, I am a better man, colleague and public servant because of you."

What happens with the race for District 3?

The District 3 race is widely expected to be competitive.

Candidates for the District 3 seat have until early next year to file documents indicating their interest.

So far, only one person has filed to run: Republican Tabatha Lavoie, an attorney who previously served a five-year stint on the Arizona-Mexico Commission under former Gov. Janet Napolitano.

But other potential candidates are beginning to line up.

Sal DiCiccio, the former Phoenix City Council member, was on the phone with supporters Thursday and is poised to run for the District 3 spot.

"I had a conference call this morning with a group of supporters that were asking me to run, and I told them that I was in," DiCiccio said. "An official announcement will come after summer. It doesn't do any good to make that type of announcement right now this early. But I'm seriously in the race. I had commitments of close to $500,000 on the call ― $475,000 to be exact."

Republic reporter Taylor Seely contributed to this article.

Sasha Hupka covers Maricopa County, Pinal County and regional issues for The Arizona Republic. Do you have a tip to share? Reach her at Follow her on Twitter: @SashaHupka.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates won't seek reelection in 2024