By Corinne Murdock |
Governor-elect Katie Hobbs’ endorsement for the new Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) chair indicates a deep party divide.
Hobbs endorsed Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, a member of her transition team — but other top Democratic leaders endorsed the apparent successor, ADP Vice Chair Yolanda Bejarano. The announcement confirmed railbird talk that Hobbs’ transition team had someone in mind other than Bejarano.
Hobbs appears to be attempting to gin up greater support for Gallardo. The outgoing secretary of state has issued public endorsements several times over the past few weeks. Additionally, two of her other transition team members — Valleywise Health Board Chairwoman Mary Rose Wilcox and Arizona Education Association (AEA) President Marisol Garcia — endorsed Gallardo.
The current chair, State Sen. Raquel Terán (LD-26), announced earlier this month that she wouldn’t seek re-election due to her appointment as Senate Minority Whip. A day later, Bejarano announced her candidacy in a since-deleted tweet. However, in the remaining tweet thread, Bejarano said that she could end the “dangerous agenda” of Republicans.
“And with Republicans doubling down on their dangerous agenda that has all but ended the right to an abortion, defunded our public schools, villainized immigrants instead of working to fix the system, and denied our fair and free elections, our work has never been more important,” wrote Bejarano.
Bejarano quickly received public endorsements from a number of Democratic leaders, including: Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07), Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09), Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-02), defeated congressional candidate Jevin Hodge, attorney general-elect Kris Mayes, secretary of state-elect Adrian Fontes, State Rep. Athena Salman (D-LD08), state rep.-elect Analise Ortiz (D-LD24), state sen.-elect Anna Hernandez (D-LD24), Phoenix City Councilwomen Yassamin Ansari and Betty Guardado, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union president Delbert Hawk.
Bejarano is also the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union’s national legislative and policy field director.
Apart from Hobbs and her transition team, Gallardo’s endorsements came from former Arizona Senate President and Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios, primaried State Rep. Cesar Chávez, UFCW Local 99 union, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Arizona chapter.
Over the last few weeks, Gallardo has hit the media trail to inspire more support.
Gallardo is also a board member for the Phoenix Union High School District, and former board member for the Cartwright Elementary School District. Gallardo serves as the second vice chair of the County Supervisors’ Association. He is also on the Ryan White Planning Council and the Valley Metro Regional Transportation Advisory Board.
Prior to serving on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Gallardo served for 10 years in the state legislature, going on to become House Minority Whip and then Senate Minority Whip. Gallardo also served as a campaign finance administrator in the Maricopa County Elections Department for 14 years, engaging in efforts to increase voter turnout.
Gallardo has also served on the Arizona Civil Right Advisory Board and the Maryvale Village Planning Committee, as well as been a member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).
In 2006, Gallardo chaired a ballot initiative that established minimum wage in Arizona. Since then, the state minimum wage has increased from $6.75 to $13.85 (starting Jan. 1). The federal minimum wage is $7.25.