Candidates Focused On 2022 Hope Voters Look Forward From 2020 Election

By Terri Jo Neff

While some Arizona voters remain focused on last November’s election, dozens of candidates for state and federal offices in 2022 are already vying for voters’ attention and their dollars, even though early voting for primary contests won’t begin for 13 months.

The November 2022 General Election will bring major changes to Arizona’s executive branch, as Gov. Doug Ducey is termed out and Attorney General Mark Brnovich has announced his run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mark Kelly. There will also be a new Arizona Secretary of State as current officeholder Katie Hobbs is seeking the governorship.

Hobbs announced her candidacy earlier this month, but faces a tough Democratic primary race with Marco Lopez Jr., a former mayor of Nogales and prior Chief of Staff for U.S. Customs & Border Protection. They currently have two other primary challengers, Steven “Paco” Noon Jr. and Trista DiGenova-Chang, although State Rep. Aaron Lieberman is rumored to be considering tossing his hat in the ring.

On the Republican side, 10 candidates are currently vying to get past the Aug. 2 primary and onto the Nov. 8 General Election ballot. Among the first to announce their candidacy were Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee and Karrin Taylor Robson, who is the secretary of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Former Phoenix-area television news anchor Kari Lake has also announced a run for the Republican nomination, along with Ameer El Bey, Kelly Garett, David Hoffman, Michael Pavlock Jr., Julian Tatka, Paola “Z” Tulliani, and Wayne Warren.

Meanwhile, two Libertarians -Bill Moritzky and Steve Remus- have already filed a Statement of Interest for governor.

With Hobbs giving up her position as Secretary of State, the Arizona Republican Party is pushing hard to take back the office in 2022. Five candidates, including Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Rep. Mark Finchem, are expected to be on the primary ballot, along with Remo Paul, Mark Sarchet, and Wade Wilson.

In addition, Rep. Shawnna Bolick, also a Republican, is expected to announce her candidacy for Secretary of State at a June 21 “Campaign Kick-off” event.

Whichever Republican clears the primary will likely take on Democrat Adrian Fontes, the former Maricopa County Recorder. Fontes informally announced on social media last week his interest in running for Secretary of State.

One of the state’s most influential offices is up for grabs in 2022 now that Brnovich is running for Congress.  One Democrat -Diego Rodriguez- has filed a Statement of Interest, as have two Republicans- Andrew Gould and Tiffany Shedd.

Gould recently stepped down from the Arizona Supreme Court to announce his candidacy.

The U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mark Kelly is expected to be one of the most contested federal races in 2022, although the Republican primary to determine who takes on Kelly will be just as intense.

In addition to Brnovich, the Republican nomination is being sought by 15 other candidates as of June 12. They include recently retired Arizona Adjutant General Michael “Mick” McGuire and Fortune 500 executive Jim Lamon.

Other Republicans vying for the nomination are Wendy Acuna, Craig Brittain, David Buechel, Dan Butierez Sr., Ronald Coale, Eric Corbett, Mark Fisher, Vlad Hermann, Josh McElroy, Rob Paveza, Thomas Tripp, and Chad Yosick. They are joined by Kelly Garett, who also filed a Statement of Interest for governor.

But the Republican primary for Kelly’s seat in Congress could get even more crowded, as Blake Masters of the Thiel Foundation and Christopher Landau, who recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, are rumored to be considering a run.

As for Kelly, he appears to have only one Democratic Party challenger at this time- Trista DiGenova-Chang, who also filed a Statement of Interest for Governor.

Independent candidates still have several months to submit a Statement of Interest, which must be filed by a candidate before collecting the petition signatures needed to get on the ballot. However, a Statement of Interest is not a formal declaration of candidacy – which is done by filing a nomination paper.