Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who ran an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in Arizona last November, is now considering running for governor in 2014.
Carmona, who is of Puerto Rican descent, lost by 3 percentage points to Republican Jeff Flake last year to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. A victory for Carmona would’ve made him the first Latino to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate and the first Democrat to win the senate seat in more than two decades.
Andy Barr, a spokesperson for Carmona, recently told The Arizona Republic that supporters from the Grand Canyon State and from across the nation are urging Carmona to run for the governor’s seat being vacated by Gov. Jan Brewer.
“He’s looking at all his options,” Barr told the daily newspaper. “I think if he were to run, the infrastructure would be in place, support would be in place, money would be in place for him. He’s gotten a lot of calls from folks encouraging him to run.”
Barr also said that if Carmona decides to run for governor, his announcement to run wouldn’t come any time soon.
What it would take for Richard Carmona to win
Rodolfo Espino, an associate professor of political science at Arizona State University, told VOXXI Richard Carmona’s chances of winning the governor’s seat have increased because he has greater name recognition due to his bid for U.S. Senate.
However, Espino said Carmona would have to start his campaign much earlier than he did during the U.S. Senate race and raise more money. As of Nov. 26, Carmona had raised $6,459,521 in total receipts for his bid for U.S. Senate last year, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Political analysts also contend that Carmona’s lengthy resume—which includes military service and law-enforcement experience—as well as being recruited by former President George W. Bush to serve as surgeon general from 2002 to 2006 helps him attract support from Republicans and Democrats alike.
In 2006, Carmona was also approached by several Republicans who encouraged him to run for governor or Congress. Six years later, President Barack Obama personally called Carmona, who at the time was a registered independent, to encourage him to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat.
Potential candidates for Arizona’s 2014 gubernatorial race
In Arizona, Republicans and Democrats are already lining up to potentially run for the governor’s seat.
But Gov. Brewer, whose second term expires at the end of 2014, is not ruling out the possibility of running for a third term. Arizona law only allows her to serve two consecutive terms. However, she and her attorneys argue that because she inherited her seat in 2009—when then-Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano left to become the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—she should be allowed to serve a third term.
Her attorneys continue researching the constitutionality of having Brewer serve a third term. Meanwhile, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who is also considering running for governor, said in December that he doesn’t believe the state Constitution allows Brewer to serve a third term.