Some misguided Americans imagine that Arizona is a place where the good ol’ boy system is in full effect. They see a bunch of old, white guys carving up the state while puffing cigars… lit with $100 bills, of course.
What sucks for the haters is that 2022 will prove them even more wrong. While you can’t say that women rule Arizona – it’s a democracy, after all – you can certainly say that “Women rule!” in Arizona.
Arguably, the most powerful U.S. senator right now is Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema. Anything with even a slight whiff of Far Left must pass the sniff test of this centrist Democrat. (That describes her politics, mind you, not her fashion sense.)
Women in positions of power is nothing new for Arizona. The state that gave America its first female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, has also had more female governors than any other state in the union (four). And Arizona may have its fifth leading lady come 2022. That’s exciting – not because I vote for candidates based on their sex organs (that’d be stupid and, well, gross), but rather because I’m a #girldad who wants his daughters to know nothing’s out of reach.
In 1997, Jane Hull, Arizona’s then-secretary of state, became the state’s 20th governor in virtually the same way Rose Mofford, our first lady governor, did: by replacing a disgraced man unable to complete his term. The next year, when Hull was elected governor, Arizona voters also made Betsey Bayless our secretary of state, Janet Napolitano the attorney general, Carol Springer the state treasurer and Lisa Graham Keegan the superintendent of public instruction. They became known as “Fabulous Five,” and when Napolitano – who would go on to win the governor’s office in 2002 – resigned in 2009 to serve in the Obama administration, then-Secretary of State Jan Brewer opened the door to the Ninth Floor. There’s your four.
Next year, herstory may repeat itself.At the time of this writing, no fewer than four women are running for governor. After a slew of Republicans announced their candidacy – Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee, Board of Regents Secretary Karrin Taylor Robson and former Fox 10 news anchor Kari Lake – Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs jumped in.
On the GOP side, only former five-term congressman Matt Salmon – the guy who lost the governor’s race in 2002 to Janet Napolitano almost 20 years ago – represents the less-fair sex. But the one declared candidate I’ve failed to mention could repeat a little history, too.
Former Nogales mayor Marco Lopez – a Democrat – is the other man hoping to make waves in the mostly female pool of political talent. If Lopez can pull off a surprise win, he’d be the second Mexican-born Latino elected to the office of governor of Arizona. Raúl Castro did it in 1974.
Puff on that, Arizona haters.