The AZ Corporation Commission Race Could Be the Top of our 2024 Ticket and Our Most Important State Level Races. If We Have the Vision to MAKE IT SO!

I’ll be the first to admit a most Arizonans haven’t a clue what the Corporation Commission is, or what it does, or who serves on it. If YOU don’t, get started on educating yourself right now and commit to teaching others..

And that widespread ignorance is exactly the way Arizona’s energy and transportation incumbents like it: they can effectively select their own regulators so long as regular Arizonans are ignorant of the vital role of our “fourth branch” of government in regulating many of the foundational industries for our state’s sustainability and climate resilience.

And it is we Democrats’ own fault for failing to expend the resources it takes to treat the AZCC as a central focus of our political vision for Arizona. We simply can’t accomplish many of our political, economic and environmental goals without having control of the AZCC.

We have taken 3 of the 5 major executive statewide offices. We are just a handful of seats away from taking the Arizona Legislature, and have been gaining ground on this front year on year. But we are further than ever from controlling the Corporation Commission, and losing ground.

There are five seats on the Commission. Currently, Democrats only control only one of the five seats, having failed to reelect incumbent Sandra Kennedy in 2022, or to pick up the second available seat last year, despite having an excellent candidate in Lauren Kuby. Now, we may be losing even the slim one-seat toehold we have on the AZCC: word is that Anna Tovar has been offered a job in Hobbs’ Administration, and is rumored to not be running for reelection.

That leaves Democrats with just one candidate for the three seats being contested in 2024, and that candidate, Jon Hill, is apparently running as a Clean Elections candidate, giving him essentially zero chance of winning because Clean Elections funding has become wholly inadequate for even an incumbent candidate to win statewide, as our former Superintendent of Public Instruction Hoffmann found out in ’22.

What we must have is three strong candidates running as a team with each other, and with our entire executive team and legislative caucus, pulling in unison to make the AZCC race THE statewide state-level leadership team this cycle. Our message should be that voters should give Democrats the majority in the State Legislature AND control of the AZCC so that we can implement the policies needed to put Arizona energy and water and transportation systems on a sustainable path for the rest of the 21st Century. We simply cannot implement the ambitious climate and energy agenda voters want from us with the a Republican-controlled (i.e. incumbent industry-controlled) AZCC fighting our Legislature and Governor every step of the way.

Every speech, every ad, every voter contact should seek to center our environmental messaging on the importance of controlling the AZCC for a sustainable future for Arizona. Our three candidates should be well-selected, well-qualified, and strongly committed to full-time campaigning and to raising the $3-5 million it will take to accomplish the mission. The GOP will likely spend upwards of $10 million between the campaigns and independent expenditures to keep control of the AZCC, and we will have to make control of the AZCC a centerpiece of our 2024 strategy to have a hope of countering that.

Only with a coordinated team effort to promote our three AZCC candidates as having equal importance to the executive team we fielded to take the Governorship, Secretary of State, and Attorney General offices in 2022 can we take control of the AZCC, or even keep the seat we now have. If Democrats don’t control ANY seats on the AZCC come 2025, we will likely be shut out until the end of the decade, by which time it might well be too late to make the policy changes we need to ensure our state’s energy and transport infrastructure is sustainable for the rest of the century.

We need our state Democratic Party, our county parties, and our state legislative team to recognize these facts, and to make control of the AZCC among their top priorities, too. We need AZCC to be an integral part of our 2024 campaign messaging and strategy, and to treat these AZCC statewide offices with the same urgency and determination and support that we are pouring into taking back the U.S. Senate seat for Democrats with Ruben Gallego, beating #CiscoMAGA and Schweikert in Congressional districts 1 and 6 with Kirsten Engel and the victor of the CD1 primary, and taking the state legislative majority with serious and viable candidates in every legislative district.

Our the ground campaign needs to be EVERYWHERE to have the best chance of winning these races and meeting our ambitious agenda. We cannot sufficiently narrow our margins of loss in the reddest gerrymandered districts and rural counties unless we have people on the ground delivering our message and rallying every voter who will vote with Democrats this election. That’s what it will take to win every office we need to capture from the top to the bottoms of the ballot.

We want the Presidency, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and both chambers of the Arizona Legislature. That ambition is actually realistic and achievable! We have a path to that future and every part of it run right through Arizona in 2024. But some of the most important work that Governor Hobbs and our new Arizona State Legislative majority need to accomplish requires that we control the AZCC, as well. We CAN make that happen. But NOT if we don’t even bother trying.

If we recognize the AZCC as our state level leadership team this cycle, and put in the recruiting, resources, and focus needed, we CAN take control of the AZCC and actually deliver fully on our agenda for the state. If we don’t and can’t deliver policies that improve people’s lives substantially, what incentive do Arizona voters have to return our executive team to office in 2026?

If you agree, speak up and let your political leaders at every level know- you WANT Democrats to make a major effort to take control the AZCC this cycle.

4 thoughts on “The AZ Corporation Commission Race Could Be the Top of our 2024 Ticket and Our Most Important State Level Races. If We Have the Vision to MAKE IT SO!”

  1. Thank you. It’s an under-publicized race, and shouldn’t be that.

    One quibble with what you wrote: State Mine Inspector is NOT a “major” office. It’s an elected staff job.

    If there needs to be a low profile office that’s elected but outside of the line of succession for the governor’s office, it should be state auditor. It’s an elected office in many other states.

  2. Thanks Michael. Your article clears up some of my misconceptions about AZCC. It seems there are hundreds of ways GQP/GOP can game the system. This whole process reminds me of whack-a-mole and Dems just can’t focus long enough.

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