Hobbs pivots campaign for governor beyond ballot audit

November 4, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs presented herself Thursday as an advocate for government efficiency, striking a centrist tone as she ramps up her campaign for Arizona governor in the wake of losses in Virginia that spooked Democrats around the country.

Hobbs has made a national name for herself as a critic of the 2020 ballot review led by Donald Trump supporters on behalf of Arizona legislative Republicans, decrying conspiracy theories suggesting Trump lost because of fraud. But she has been less vocal about others issues in the race so far.

In one of the first prominent actions of her campaign, Hobbs outlined an agenda that includes cutting red tape, eliminating wasteful spending, boosting transparency and improving long-term planning. Her focus on government efficiency, wasteful spending and making it easier to start a business echoed themes often espoused by Republicans.


“We will reform your government and work to build the most ethical and accountable administration in history,” Hobbs told reporters during a news conference at the state Capitol.

Arizona was a longtime Republican stronghold that has trended toward the center, electing Democratic U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly and supporting Biden for president in the past two election cycles. Sinema and Kelly found success downplaying their Democratic affiliation while presenting themselves as independent and moderate.

Hobbs dodged questions about her party’s woes in Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe lost the race for governor, or New Jersey, where incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy was only narrowly re-elected. Both are states that voted overwhelmingly for Biden. Hobbs said she was focused on Arizona.

Hobbs is the best-known Democrat running for governor. She faces Aaron Lieberman, a former state lawmaker, and Marco Lopez, a former mayor of Nogales and political aide, in the Democratic primary.

Former television anchor Kari Lake is the early frontrunner among Republicans. She faces businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson, former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon and state Treasurer Kimberly Yee.