A few days ago, I posted a snark-filled piece full of speculation on possible Republican candidates for governor in 2014.
Out of a sense of fairness, I'm now doing one on potential Democratic candidates.
Out of a sense of partisanship, it will be less snarky...at least, less snarky toward the Democratic candidates. :)
As with the prior post, no actual discussions with the potential candidates took place in the production of this post. In no way does a mention in this post indicate that someone is planning or interested in running for governor of Arizona, nor does lack of a mention in this post indicate that someone is *not* planning or interested in running for governor of Arizona.
As with the previous post on this topic, the names mentioned are those who have held office previously or who have otherwise made an impact on the metaphorical public square.
On to the speculation:
Terry Goddard, former attorney general and candidate for governor:
- Con: has run for governor and lost, twice.
- Pro: both of the ultimate victors of the races for governor (Fife Symington, Jan Brewer) that he was in have brought great national ridicule down upon Arizona. The voters may finally be ready to choose competence over ideological blathering.
- Con2: This is Arizona. Don't hold your breath.
Janet Napolitano, former governor:
- Con: she resigned as governor in 2009 to take a position in President Barack Obama's cabinet, leaving Arizona fading in her rear-view mirror.
- Pro: regardless of the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, she may be interested in moving on - - if the Rs win, a whole new cabinet will be brought in to DC; if Obama wins, pretty much the same will happen. Second term presidential cabinets are usually very different than the cabinets for the first term of the same president. And three-plus years of "Governor Jan Brewer" have only served to increase the amount of respect people have for Napolitano.
- Con2: as Secretary of Homeland Security, Napolitano has only had to deal with terrorists, spies, and grave threats to America. As governor, she might not be willing to again deal with scourges upon society like the Arizona legislature, the Goldwater Institute, and the Center for Arizona Policy.
Gabrielle Giffords, former member of Congress:
- Con: still recovering from a horrific assassination attempt that took the lives of six people, including a small child, and injured more than a dozen other people.
- Pro: if her recovery, already nothing short of miraculous, progresses well enough for her to handle the rigors of the job, and she actually wants the job, the election will be less a contest than a walk-over.
Harry Mitchell, former member of Congress:
- Con: after nearly five decades of public service, he may have reached the point of his life where he is ready to leave the "top of the ballot" stuff - walking precincts and making appearances on the rubber chicken circuit to those with younger legs and digestive tracts.
- Pro: one of the most respected people in Arizona politics, and one of the few left where the respect genuinely crosses partisan lines.
Phil Gordon, former mayor of Phoenix -
- Pro: still has an effective organization and base of support in what is the largest city and county in the state.
- Con: the Rs despise him, and he is far from popular with grassroots Ds, even in Maricopa County, outside of Phoenix.
Greg Stanton, current mayor of Phoenix -
- Pro: also has an effective organization and base of support in what is the largest city and county in the state. In addition, he is so new that he hasn't had time to tick off grassroots Ds.
- Con: the Rs despise him, despite knowing next to nothing about him (other than that he isn't one of them), and he is young by political standards.
- Pro2: he may be too young/new for an effective run in 2014, but 2018 and 2022 are well within the realm of realistic possibility.
Felecia Rotellini, 2010 candidate for attorney general -
- Pro: while she didn't win in 2010, she had the best performance of any D candidate during that cycle and garnered a lot of respect across the political spectrum. She's smart, energetic, and universally well-liked among Democrats. It helps that the guy who won the 2010 election, Tom Horne, is widely considered to be a sleazeball and is under federal investigation for campaign finance violations.
Con - while she's been a public servant before, she has never actually held elected office. Like Napolitano before her, a term as AG might be necessary to elevate her name recognition among the general public before running for the top spot.
Sandra Kennedy, current member of the Arizona Corporation Commission -
- Pro: intelligent, experienced and one of only two Democrats to hold statewide elected office.
- Con: as with Brenda Burns in the previous post, the ACC isn't the highest-profile perch from which to launch a run at a high-profile job. Unlike Burns however, Kennedy actually does some good work for the people of AZ, and as such, she doesn't have access to scads of corporate money.
Other names that may come up in conversation:
Rep. Chad Campbell, House minority leader: smart but young enough that like Stanton above, 2014 may be too soon; Kyrsten Sinema, former state legislator and current candidate for Congress: also young, and has her sights set much higher than the 9th floor of the Executive Tower; Steve Gallardo, state legislator: could go for it in 2014, but young enough to wait until 2018/2022 and use the time to both consolidate and expand his base of support; Ruben Gallego, state legislator: if the others are young by political standards, he's a bambino. A bambino with ambition, however. 2014 is too soon, and 2018/2022 may also be too soon, but after that...?; Neil Giuliano, former Republican and former mayor of Tempe: made noises about a run in 2010, but was pretty much unknown outside of Tempe. Would need to elevate his name rec among the general public.
A couple of wildcards:
Sue Gerard and Kris Mayes, the former head of the state Department of Health Services and chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission, respectively. They're Republicans who have actually done good work for the people of Arizona. As such, they'd never get through a Republican primary in the current political environment. Not likely to even consider becoming Democrats, but given the amount of respect that people have for them, they could make things interesting.