A couple of caveats -
1. Most of my focus will be on Democrats from Maricopa County because they're who I have the most familiarity with. There are certain to be candidates from Pima, Pinal, Coconino and other counties whose names I haven't heard.
2. This is all pure speculation on my part. None of the potential candidates mentioned has ever spoken to me about their future plans.
3. The underlying assumptions are that Janet Napolitano leaves and does not return to run against John McCain in two years (though a run against Jon Kyl in four years remains a possibility) and that, despite laying the groundwork for a reelection run, McCain chooses not to run again at age 74.
4. The goal of this post is to start a discussion, so if you have some legitimate speculations of your own, feel free to leave a comment (just keep it civil :) ).
On to the
State Mine Inspector - why on God's green earth is this still an elected office? Could someone explain this to me, please?
State Superintendent of Public Instruction -
Speculation elsewhere on possible Republican candidates has focused on State Sen. John Huppenthal and State Rep. Rich Crandall. Both are very conservative; Huppenthal despises public education with a burning passion and Crandall does not.
As for possible Democratic candidates, Slade Mead and Jason Williams, who both ran in 2006 may try again. However, Williams has remained more active in the education field and has a higher profile in that area. Other to consider include Jackie and John Thrasher. Both are career teachers, both lost elections this year and may want to try for different offices in 2010 - it's looking more and more like John is not destined to be the one who unseats Congressman Trent Franks in CD3 and Jackie could make Republicans Jim Weiers and Doug Quelland eat green crow by winning a statewide office after weaselling their way back into office in LD10.
State Treasurer - No clue here. At all.
Attorney General -
On the Republican side, I have no idea, though I expect their nominee to be some party apparatchik.
As for the Democratic possibilities, I don't have much more of a clue here, though Tim Nelson (former candidate for Maricopa County Attorney) is a possibility if he doesn't accompany Napolitano to D.C. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is a possibility here too, if he chooses to give Terry Goddard an unobstructed run at the Democratic gubernortorial nomination. Long shots to even consider a run, much less win one, are Don Bivens, chair of the AZ Democratic Party, and Mark Manoil, chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party. Both are practicing lawyers.
Secretary of State -
The Sonoran Alliance post linked above has a pretty good run down of possible Rep candidates for 2010 even though the focus was on possibilities for appointment to replace Brewer in the immediate future. One name that was mentioned over there was former Tempe state Rep. Laura Knaperek. They raved over her because she is so conservative, but I don't see it - she lost her last general election in 2006 against a couple of relatively new Democratic candidates for state lege, and she lost her last primary this year in CD5. Even good candidates can lose *one* election but she has lost three this decade. She may want to consider *not* running for office for a while.
Current Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes may consider a run here, too. While her non-political experience is in journalism, she has degrees in law and public administration. Since she is rumored to be interested in moving to the ninth floor (aka - the Governor's office), this office would be a logical steppingstone.
As for Democrats, Sandra Kennedy has been rumored to have interest in the job, though her recent victory in the AZ Corporation Commission race probably means she won't go for this in two years. There are a couple of termed out state legislators who may be interested, and perhaps some not-so-termed-out ones, if it doesn't look like the Dems will improve their representation in the lege in two years.
The list is long and varied here. The Republican possibilities are discussed in the AZ Rep article, though Jan Brewer has to be considered the early favorite whether or not she ascends into the governorship within a few weeks. A dark horse here could be Congressman Jeff Flake, whose interest in the job has been the subject of rumors in the past. While the governor's job pays less than U.S. Rep, he wouldn't have to fly back and forth to D.C. every weekend and wouldn't have to sleep in his office to save money for his kids' college education.
On the Democratic side, current Attorney General Terry Goddard is considered the presumptive front-runner for the Democratic nomination with Phil Gordon the primary threat to that. Former AZ Dem chair and former candidate for U.S. Senate Jim Pederson is also mentioned frequently. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been the subject of rumors here, but she seems more likely to take a run at John McCain's Senate seat at this point.
Arizona Corporation Commission (2 seats) -
No clue as for the Republican possiblilities, and the only Democratic names that I can think of right off the top of my head are Sam George and Kara Kelty, both of whom were candidates this year.
U.S. Senate -
If McCain doesn't run again, the field is wide open on both sides of the aisle.
Republican possibilities include current Congressmen John Shadegg (CD3) and Jeff Flake (CD6), though there are sure to be other names floated (Mayes' name might fit here, too, but she passed on a run in CD1 this year. She may not be interested in federal office.)
Democratic possibilities include whichever of the Goddard/Gordon duo doesn't run for governor, Jim Pederson (again) and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (CD8). Giffords may be a possible candidate even if McCain runs again - many people in AZ believe that a strong female candidate would have the best chance of unseating the popular McCain.
U.S. Congress -
There is a frequent rumor that Congressman Ed Pastor (CD4) could face a primary challenge in two years from Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. If that actually happens, it would be an interesting, and probably heated, contest between two entrenched west Phoenix political machines.
As for the other CDs, I've got no idea, though any special-election winning replacement for rumored-to-becoming-U.S. Secretary of the Interior Raul Grijalva (CD7) is certain to face some strong challengers.
Other names that could fit into one of these potential races include Dennis Burke (former Napolitano chief of staff and rumored U.S. Attorney-to-be), state legislators David Lujan (D), Kyrsten Sinema (D), Chad Campbell (D) and Michelle Reagan (R) and outgoing Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross.