All of Arizona’s executive offices are up for election in 2018. Most have primary competition. Below learn more about the candidates and see some in action at the InMaricopa.com Town Hall.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has had an eventful four years and has a lush campaign fund to rely on. Border security, the opioid epidemic and the Department of Child Safety have all been heavy issues in which he touts success. But it has been education funding that came to a head this year, and pushback from the #RedForEd movement may have made him vulnerable.
Though Ducey has called him a “fringe” candidate, Republican Ken Bennett was Arizona’s secretary of state for six years and served in the Legislature for eight years before that. But his most recent primary campaigns in 2014 and 2016 were failures.
Democrat David Garcia, a professor who narrowly lost a bid to be superintendent of public instruction four years ago, is coming back as a candidate for governor. He has portrayed the current administration as corrupt and obstructive.
Democrat Kelly Fryer of Tucson, the CEO of YWCA Southern Arizona and former minister, calls education a basic human right. She says the state should have a 15-county economic development plan.
Steve Farley is a Democratic legislator and currently the assistant Senate minority leader. A graphic artist with his own business, he says Ducey has mishandled healthcare, education, economy and immigration.
Write-in candidates for governor are Republican Robert Weber, Democrat Fareed Baig and Green Party member Angel Torres.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Secretary of State Michele Reagan, a former legislator, has a Republican rival in the primary as she tries to keep her office. Though she’s had success in records-keeping upgrades and improving connections with county recorders since a 2017 falling-out, her handling of election issues has come under scrutiny.
Well-financed with his own money, pro-Trump Republican Steve Gaynor says Reagan’s office has gotten away with breaking the law in its election procedures and needs to stop wasting money.
Facing no opposition in the Primary, Democrat Katie Hobbs also wants to be secretary of state. A social worker and state legislator, Hobbs calls the current office incompetent.
Libertarian Jenn Gray is running as a write-in.
There is no primary competition in the race for Arizona attorney general. Each candidate, including a write-in, are the only nominees in their respective parties.
Republican incumbent Mark Brnovich was previously director of Arizona Department of Gaming. In his first year as AG, he successfully argued for the state in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Democrat January Contreras was an assistant attorney general for Arizona in the Fraud and Public Corruption Section. She was an assistant director at Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and was a senior adviser to former Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano during the Obama administration.
For the Libertarian party, Michael Kielsky is running as a write-in.
After previous Treasurer Jeff DeWitt resigned in 2018 and left the state, Eileen Klein was assigned to replace him, and she is not seeking election. With no incumbent running, the Treasurer’s Office has drawn the attention of two Republicans and one Democrat.
Kimberly Yee has the been the front-runner, backed early on by the state’s most powerful GOP leaders. A state senator, she spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Her bachelor’s degrees are in political science and English and her masters is in public administration.
Republican Jo Ann Sabbagh is an accountant residing in Tucson, where she owns her own business and is a past president of the Arizona Association of Accounting & Tax Professionals. She is the only accounting professional who has ever run for state treasurer.
Democrat Mark Manoil has no primary competition remaining on the ballot. He is a property tax lawyer. He has said there are solutions to the education funding problem, and it starts with better spending.
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
Republican incumbent Diane Douglas has several in her own party as well as Democrats after her job as head of the Education Department.
There was a movement to recall her before she was even sworn in, an effort that has continued to shadow her. Opponents said she was not qualified and did not understand the job. Disputes with the state education board rose to the level of two lawsuits by the board. A former governing board member at Peoria Unified School District, she seeks to water down the teaching of evolution in public schools.
Republican Bob Branch, PhD, is a dissertation chair at the University of Phoenix and is director of Parks & Recreation for Maricopa County. He aligns himself with the Tea Party and President Trump.
Republican Jonathan Gelbart has a master’s degree in engineering from Stanford University and was director of Charter School Development for BASIS Charter Schools in Arizona.
Republican Tracy Livingston is a K-12 teacher, member of the Maricopa Community College Governing Board and, like Douglas, a former board member at Peoria Unified.
Republican Frank Riggs has been a “gang of seven” U.S. Congressman, a police officer, a school board president and an MP in the U.S. Army. He authored the Charter School Expansion Act of 1998.
Democrat Kathy Hoffman is an educator and speech therapist at Peoria Unified School District. She has spent her professional career in public schools in Tucson and Phoenix.
Democrat David Schapira is a former state legislator and Tempe City Councilmember. He taught high school and at ASU. The Mesa native was administrator at East Valley Institute of Technology.
ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION
Two of the ACC’s five seats are up for election, with both Republican incumbents seeking reelection. They are challenged by three other Republicans and three Democrats. In recent years, the ACC has been embroiled in cases of alleged bribery and conflict of interest.
Former commissioner Sandra Kennedy wants to get back on the commission and is running as a team with fellow Democrat and former commissioner Bill Mundell. She
previously served in the state Legislature. She says she is running to stop the corruption of the ACC.
Bill Mundell, an attorney, also served in the state Legislature before he served 10 years on the ACC. He was director of the Registrar of Contractors.
Democrat Kiana Sears is member of the Mesa Public School Governing Board. She has a master’s degree in public administration. She was a water and wastewater executive consultant for the ACC.
Republican incumbent Tom Forese thought of running for state treasurer but changed his mind. He served in the state Legislature and now chairs the ACC. Before politics, he was director of Link-Systems International.
A Democrat-turned-Republican, attorney Rodney
Glassman was a member of the Tucson City Council and interim town manager in Cave Creek, and served on the board of Arizona Farm Bureau.
Republican Jim O’Connor, at 72, has never run for office before. He is an investment advisor who rewrote California’s investment statute.
Republican incumbent Justin Olson is a former state legislator. Ducey appointed him to the ACC after Doug Little resigned. Olson is a tax analyst.
Eric Sloan is CEO of Sloan Lyons Public Affairs and worked at Arizona Department of Gaming. He is a Republican precinct committeeman.
STATE MINE INSPECTOR
There is no primary for the mine inspector campaign, with one Democrat and one Republican on the ballot and a Libertarian write-in.
Incumbent Republican Joe Hart is a former state representative and has first elected inspector in 2006. He was formerly safety inspector for a mining company and a trucking company and owned a broadcast company, working as a broadcaster himself.
Democrat Bill Pierce has worked as an engineer for 40 years and is certified through Mining Safety Health Administration and OSHA. He is trained through the EPA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He is challenging Hart, he says, because the department needs more oversight.
Write-in candidate Kim Ruff is a Libertarian.
This story appeared in part in the August issue of InMaricopa.