Arizona Democrats Reject Gov. Hobbs’ Pick for Party Chair

January 31, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) rejected Gov. Katie Hobbs’ pick to lead the state party on Saturday.

Chairing the party will be Yolanda Bejarano, a longtime union organizer who’d been serving as ADP’s vice chair. Hobbs’ pick was Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, who also served as a member of her transition team. Bejarano won in a landslide, receiving 70 percent of over 600 state party committee member votes.

AZ Free News reported in December that Hobbs’ endorsement of Gallardo indicated a party divide. The governor issued multiple public endorsements in the weeks leading up to the election.

Altogether, Bejarano boasted a lengthy list of top party leader endorsements, including: Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ); Reps. Greg Stanton (D-AZ-04), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07); Secretary of State Adrian Fontes; Attorney General Kris Mayes; State Reps. Athena Salman (D-LD08), Analise Ortiz (D-LD24), Leezah Sun (D-LD22); State Sens. Anna Hernandez (D-LD24), Juan Mendez (D-LD08); Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cazares-Kelly; Phoenix City Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari and Council Members Betty Guardado and Carlos Garcia; former Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O’Halleran, and Gabby Giffords.

By comparison, Gallardo’s endorsements featured a smattering of unions and mostly former leaders from the state legislature and party. Present leadership that endorsed Gallardo included the Arizona Education Association; State Reps. Jennifer Longdon (D-LD05), Consuelo Hernandez (D-LD21), Minority Whip Marcelino Quiñonez (D-LD11), and Amish Shah (D-LD05).

Gallardo quickly conceded the race on Saturday, congratulating Bejarano by name.

However, Hobbs opted to congratulate all elected for the ADP board rather than acknowledging Bejarano’s win individually.

Hobbs later issued a tweet thanking former ADP chair, State Senate Minority Leader Raquel Terán (D-LD30), for her past two years of leadership. She credited Terán for helping her secure the governorship, but omitted Bejarano entirely. 

“Together, we won the 9th floor for the first time in 15 years and I look forward to all that you will do in Senate leadership fighting alongside me,” said Hobbs.

With Bejarano at the helm, the ADP plans on flipping the state legislature next year. Republicans have held a consistently slim majority over the past four years: 16 Republicans to 14 Democrats in the Senate, and 31 Republicans to 29 Democrats in the House, the lowest in decades. The GOP majority began slipping from a recent high point in 2011, when it had 21 members to Democrats’ nine in the Senate and 40 members to Democrats’ 20 in the House. 

Other board members are: Rick McGuire, treasurer; Lisa Sanor, secretary; Paul Eckerstrom, first vice chair; Sierra Yamanaka, senior vice chair; vice chairs April Ignacio, Brianna Westbrook, Deydrek Scott, Lupe Conchas, Shanna Leonard, and William Knight.

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

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