Vultures circle as local elections heat up

thomasWith the filing deadline for Arizona elections fast approaching, the race for Gov. Jan Brewer's successor is heating up.

So far, the field of candidates is rather lopsided: several relatively high-profile Republicans (and possibly more) and a lone Democrat. It's a long six weeks until the full field can be known, but with the recent revelation that Brewer will not run for re-election making national news, it's as good a time as any to break down who's hot and who's not.

Fred DuVal is the only Democratic candidate so far. DuVal served on the Arizona Board of Regents and in the Clinton White House and helped to found the National Institute for Civil Discourse at UA.



Next up is Republican, former Cold Stone Creamery CEO and current state treasurer Doug Ducey. Ducey boasts endorsements from Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

Former GoDaddy executive vice president Christine Jones has thrown her hat into the ring, as have Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and disgraced former Maricopa County attorney general Andrew Thomas.

Most interestingly, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to be hinting at a bid for the governor's office.

"I probably won't endorse anybody in the primary if I don't run myself. Why would I endorse, if I may run for governor? Isn't that kind of stupid?" Arpaio said. While this prospect may be terrifying for those of us hoping our next governor won't inflame public opinion against Arizona any more than Senate Bill 1070 or Senate Bill 1062 already have, keep in mind Arpaio only won the sheriff's race with 50.6 percent of the vote. In a statewide election, in which vast swaths of the state have no love lost for "America's Toughest Sheriff," it's doubtful that Arpaio could end up with a win.

But the governor's race isn't the only one worth watching during this election cycle.

After Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., announced he was retiring from Congress after the current term, the vultures, so to speak, started swarming in exploratory committees across the state.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who represents the congressional district in which Tempe lies, reportedly considered carpetbagging her way into Pastor's district though she eventually decided against it.

Taking up the mantle for the district Pastor represented for 23 years are Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, and many more.

Finally, the race for secretary of state — Brewer's former position, until she became governor when former Gov. Janet Napolitano, D-Ariz., was appointed to the Department of Homeland Security — features a few familiar faces. Terry Goddard, former gubernatorial candidate and state attorney general, announced his candidacy for Arizona's second highest office in December. Wil Cardon, who ran against Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., for the Senate, Sen. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, and Rep. Justin Pierce, R-Mesa.

These are the names to watch in the coming eight months. May the least kooky win.

Reach the columnist at or follow her on Twitter @savannahkthomas

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