Steve Gaynor, Katie Hobbs Face Off In Arizona Secretary Of State Race

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 9:03am
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 9:04am
Justin Stabley
Steve Gaynor and Katie Hobbs.

The race to become Arizona’s second-in-command, the secretary of state, is between Democratic lawmaker Katie Hobbs and Republican political newcomer Steve Gaynor.

Gaynor, who has never held public office, beat incumbent Michele Reagan in the primary. He owns a California printing business and previously owned one in Phoenix.

Hobbs was a social worker before getting elected to the state House of Representatives in 2010. She was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and has served as Senate minority leader since 2014.

Both said missteps have occurred in the Secretary of State’s Office under Reagan.

“I’ve spent my whole career both as a social worker and in the legislature working to make government work better for the people of Arizona," Hobbs said on KJZZ's The Show. "And that clearly needs to happen in the Secretary of State’s Office. There’s a lot of mismanagement that needs to be turned around.”

Gaynor said his business acumen would help him turn around what he also sees as a mismanaged office.

“I saw there were a lot of problems in the Secretary of State’s Office, and when I looked at my business background and especially in printing, I saw that it was a really good match,” Gaynor said.

The secretary of state becomes governor if Arizona’s governor leaves office — a scenario that’s happened three times in the last 30 years.

Gaynor told KJZZ about his political motivations and how he hopes to change the working environment of the office, if elected.

He said his political role model is Sen. Jon Kyl and transparency would be a priority for him.

“To me the most important thing in an election is that everybody feels that the election has been run with integrity, especially people on the losing side, whichever side that is," Gaynor said. "People should feel that every vote was counted, that there’s complete transparency.”

Hobbs said a priority for her would be, if elected, to be a non-partisan leader.
“The secretary of state, the person who oversees our elections, they have to be neutral," Hobbs said. "They cannot be viewed as having any partisan interest in what happens in that office. That is my commitment to the voters of Arizona is that I will absolutely run the office in a non-partisan way.”

While Gaynor may not have a voting record, he said claims in news articles that he isn’t a transparent candidate are not correct.

“I don’t think I’m enigmatic, I think I’m pretty open," he said. "If people ask me questions I’ll answer them.”

Gaynor said, if elected and moved into the Governor's Office, he would be interested in public health — being at one time a pre-med student — and water policy, after Kyl. In a followup call after the initial interview, Gaynor offered that his priorities, if he did end up as governor, would be education, public safety and the economy.

Gaynor also made headlines speaking at an event this summer, calling for changes to federal law that allows minority languages other than English on election materials. In his interview with KJZZ, Gaynor said he would not try to change that law.

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