Mom Running For State Superintendent First to Qualify For Clean Elections Funding

February 8, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Shiry Sapir, a mother of three who decided to run for public office after enduring the current state of K-12 schools in Arizona, became the first Clean Elections candidate for this year.

Sapir’s filing stands as one of the earliest submissions for any candidate, and reportedly the earliest for an Arizona Republican running for a statewide office. A Clean Elections qualification requires candidates don’t receive special interest or high-dollar contributions; for Sapir’s campaign, she had to raise $2,500 worth of $5 contributions. In addition to the clout, candidates may access the Citizens Clean Elections Fund.

Sapir’s qualification occurred despite Secretary of State Katie Hobbs shutting down the E-Qual system, which allows candidates the easier option of collecting contributions electronically.

In the primaries for the superintendent’s seat, Sapir would be contending with the likes of State Representative Michelle Udall (R-Mesa), who stands firm with the GOP on masking, vaccinations, and critical race theory, but departs on unfettered school choice.

Sapir announced her campaign for state superintendent last July. Since then, she’s earned the endorsements of State Representative and congressional candidate Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake); Andy Biggs’ wife, Cindy Biggs; Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC) Commissioner Jim O’Connor; and the AZ Coalition for Medical Freedom. 

Incumbent Superintendent Kathy Hoffman ran her initial campaign as a Clean Elections candidate, and pledged last August to do the same this go around.

Sapir appeared before the House Education Committee last month to advocate for HB2495, citing the incident in Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) reported on by AZ Free News, in which two English teachers assigned a book laden with pornographic and other explicit material, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.”

“To me, this has nothing to do with homosexuality. It really doesn’t. I have nothing against homosexuality. I just don’t want any kind of sexuality coming in front of minors,” said Sapir. 

State Representative Daniel Hernandez (D-Tucson) appeared flustered by Sapir’s stance and testimony, offering a backhanded compliment that Sapir would trust State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) because he was “obviously an expert in this [issue],” eliciting a chiding response from Udall, the committee chair. Hernandez then asked Sapir if she’s ever “had to defend her straight-ness as a person.” Udall intervened again, deeming Hernandez’s question irrelevant to the bill.

The House passed that bill that spurred Sapir’s back-and-forth with Hernandez last week.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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