Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, long the presumed frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2022, has begun her campaign for governor.
“I am running for Governor to deliver transparency, accountability, and results for Arizonans, just like I have done my whole career,” Hobbs said in a press statement announcing her candidacy Wednesday morning. “Right now, our state government is being run by conspiracy theorists who are more focused on political posturing than getting things done, and that needs to change. As Governor, I will do what I have always done: put aside our differences and work to solve the serious problems facing Arizona.”
Hobbs spent eight years in the legislature before being elected Arizona’s secretary of state in 2018, a position that has given her a high-profile platform over the past six months as election issues have dominated the news.
Since the 2020 election, Hobbs has become the face of Democratic opposition to the baseless fraud allegations and conspiracy theories spread by former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters who falsely claim the election was rigged. Over the past few months, she has also become the state’s most prominent Democratic critic of the beleaguered recount and audit that Republican Senate President Karen Fann launched of the election in Maricopa County.
In her announcement video, Hobbs spoke about her upbringing, saying times were so tight when she was young that her family went on food stamps for a time. She said she knew early in her life that she wanted to work to improve other people’s lives. She highlighted her work in the legislature on laws to protect domestic violence victims, fight opioid addiction, end the backlog of untested rape kits in Arizona and expand Medicaid coverage. And she pointed to a recent law barring doctors from performing abortions if a woman is seeking it solely because the fetus has a genetic defect as “real harm going on for many” that she would fight as governor.
Much of Hobbs’s announcement focused on her work on the 2020 election and her advocacy against the conspiracy theories surrounding it that many Republicans have spread.
“The other side isn’t offering policies to make our lives better. They’re offering conspiracies that only make our life worse,” Hobbs said in her video. “We did our job. They refuse to do theirs. And there’s a lot more work to be done. That’s why I’m running for governor, to rebuild our economy after COVID stronger than before, to make lifesaving investments in health care, to invest in our schools, our teachers and the next generation of Arizona’s leaders, to ensure that your race, gender or ZIP code do not dictate your destiny.”
Republican lawmakers have retaliated against Hobbs’s advocacy for expanded voting rights and ballot access, and her denunciations of the Senate’s audit, by moving to strip her of the ability to defend Arizona’s election laws in court.
Hobbs’s announcement video opens with a reference to the death threats she’s received since speaking out against the audit and the election fraud claims, which led Gov. Doug Ducey to assign a Department of Public Safety security detail to protect her.
Hobbs is the second Democrat to join the race for governor. She follows Marco Lopez, the former Nogales mayor and Arizona Department of Commerce director, who announced his candidacy in March.
But Hobbs has long been viewed as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Her position as secretary of state, the second-ranking statewide elected office in Arizona, has given her a prominent platform. And as Arizona’s top election official, the drama swirling around the 2020 election has focused attention on her office, and she’s been a fixture on local and national media outlets as she defended the integrity of the election and denounced attempts to undermine public confidence in the results.
Three major candidates have also announced for governor on the Republican side: former Fox 10 anchor Kari Lake, developer and regent Karrin Taylor Robson, and state Treasurer Kimberly Yee. Former Congressman Matt Salmon is also expected to contend for the GOP nomination.
Ducey is term-limited and isn’t eligible to run for re-election next year.