2022 Races Start To Shape Up As More Candidates Kick-Off Campaigns

By Terri Jo Neff

One thing is certain about the landscape of Arizona politics – it will look much different after the 2022 general election due to a guaranteed change of governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer. 

There will also be several changes in the state legislature in 2022 as more lawmakers announce runs for state office, including Sen. David Livingston (R-LD22) who announced his candidacy last week for treasurer; Rep. Aaron Lieberman (D-LD27) who announced he is running for governor; and Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-LD20) who has kicked off her campaign for secretary of state.

Bolick is seeking the Republican nomination against Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-LD23) and Rep. Mark Finchem (R-LD11) who previously kicked off campaigns for secretary of state to serve as Arizona’s top elections official and the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of death, resignation, or removal from office. 

Other announced Republican candidates for secretary of state include Beau Lane, Remo Paul, and Wade Wilson. The Republican primary winner will likely take on either Rep. Reginald Bolding (D-LD27) or former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, both of whom publicly announced their candidacies in June. One other Democrat, Dennis Florian, is also running. 

Lieberman hopes to move on from his seat in the House to become Arizona’s next governor. He will go up against current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez Jr. in the primary, along with fellow Democrats Peggy Betzer, Steven Noon Jr., and Trista DiGenova-Chang.   

The winner of the Democrats’ primary will take on the Republican nominee from a growing candidate list which now includes Steven Gaynor and former Rep. Matt Salmon, both of whom recently threw their hats in the ring.

Previously announced Republican candidates for governor include current State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, Board of Regents Secretary Karrin Taylor Robson, and former Phoenix-area news anchor Kari Lake. They are joined by Ameer El Bey, Kelly Garett, David Hoffman, Bryan Masche, Callie Morgan, Michael Pavlock Jr., Julian Tatka, and Paola Tulliani.

Four Libertarians -Robert Baxter, Barry Hess, Bill Moritzky, and Steve Remus- have also filed a statement of interest for the governorship.   

With Yee not running again for state treasurer, Livingston is currently the only candidate who has filed a Statement of Interest for the office with the secretary of state. 

But it is not only state races that are garnering lots of attention. Many eyes are on the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mark Kelly, a Democrat.

Kelly is expected retain his party’s nomination but whose name appears on the ballot for the Republican Party will be heavily contested, not only by Brnovich but also corporate executive Jim Lamon and retired Arizona Adjutant General Michael McGuire. In addition, Blake Masters -president of the Thiel Foundation- is rumored to be announcing his candidacy to challenge Kelly later this week.

Other Republicans already vying for the nomination are Wendy Acuna, Craig Brittain, David Buechel, Dan Butierez Sr., Ronald Coale, Eric Corbett, Mark Fisher, Kelly Garett, Vlad Hermann, Josh McElroy, Rob Paveza, Thomas Tripp, and Chad Yosick. 

With Brnovich running for Congress, Andrew Gould recently resigned his seat on the Arizona Supreme Court to seek the Republican nomination. Gould will likely face Lacy Cooper and Tiffany Shedd in their party’s primary. 

For the Democrat Party, former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes announced her candidacy for attorney general last month. She is expected to be joined in the primary by January Contreras and Diego Rodriguez. One Libertarian, Michael Kielsky, is also running for attorney general. 

There are also several current state representatives who will be leaving the legislature to make runs for Congress in 2022. They include Walt Blackman (R-LD6) who is running for CD1 and Sen. Kirsten Engel (D-LD10) who is running against Rep. Randy Friese (D-LD9) for CD2.