AZ-Gov: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced Wednesday that she would run for governor of Arizona, a move that makes her the most prominent Democrat to join the contest to succeed termed-out Republican incumbent Doug Ducey. The Republican field is also still taking shape, as former local Fox anchor Kari Lake, who has made a name for herself circulating far-right lies, launched her own bid the previous day.
We’ll start with Hobbs, whose 22.214.171.124 victory in 2018 gave Team Blue control of the secretary of state’s office for the first time in 24 years. Hobbs attracted national attention in 2020 for her high-profile role as this swing state’s chief elections administrator, and she used her kickoff video to highlight how she’d done her job in the face of death threats.
Hobbs also drew attention to the GOP’s bogus "audit" of Maricopa County's 2020 vote, saying, “We’ve got this state government being run by conspiracy theorists right now. They are out of touch with everyday Arizonans and that’s holding us back as a state.”
Hobbs’ only notable intra-party opponent so far is former homeland security official Marco López, who announced back in March. The one other Democrat we’ve heard express interest in campaigning for governor is state Rep. Aaron Lieberman, who recently revealed he was looking at this race.
The Republican field also grew this week when Kari Lake, who left Phoenix’s Fox 10 in March after 22 years, announced her own campaign. Lake, though, began spreading conspiracy theories and cultivating ties with the far-right well before she went off the air. As early as 2018, Lake tweeted that the “Red for Ed” movement to increase teacher pay and school funding was really a secret plan to legalize marijuana―a claim she made solely based on a photo of a satirical t-shirt.
Since then, Lake has set up accounts on sites that are popular with QAnon followers and neo-Nazis and circulated lies about the coronavirus and 2020 election. Appropriately, the self-proclaimed “symbol of truth in journalism” entered the race Tuesday accompanied by a since-deleted site image of her with Donald Trump above a caption that began, “An quo omnis feugiat eruditi, vel at vitae oratio partem,” Latin-looking filler text that translates to nothing. (The following seven sentences were no more illuminating.)
The other Republicans running to succeed Ducey are state Treasurer Kimberly Yee and Arizona Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson, but the Republican field may expand again before long. While we haven’t heard anything from former Rep. Matt Salmon since he last expressed interest in December, the Arizona Republic relays that he’s “expected to enter the race.” Salmon was the Republican nominee for governor all the way back in 2002 when he lost to Democrat Janet Napolitano 46-45.