Rachel Mitchell joins race to replace former Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel

Rachel Mitchell is the latest to join the race for signatures to replace resigning Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel.
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:45 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Two days ago, there was no race for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. But 48 hours after Allister Adel resigned, seven candidates are scrambling to get on the ballot.

The latest to jump in is Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor with 30 years of experience, who was also one of the five division chiefs who called on Adel to step down. Mitchell and other top prosecutors questioned Adel’s sobriety and decisions after returning from treatment for alcohol abuse and anxiety in a letter sent to county leaders and the Arizona State Bar.

Mitchell also ran the office on an interim basis when former Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery left for the Arizona Supreme Court. Over her decades working at MCAO, Mitchell was a well-known sex crimes prosecutor and gained national attention in 2018 for her role in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Mitchell helped on a Senate investigation into decades-old sex abuse allegations against Kavanaugh, who went on to be confirmed to the high court. If she does qualify for the August primary election, Mitchell will likely face questions over the 180 criminal cases the office dropped because they weren’t filed on time.

When asked how that happened, Mitchell placed the blame, in part, on a lack of resources. “We have an increase in crime, increase in very serious crimes, and we are operating about 20% below staff,” Mitchell said Wednesday.

Mitchell, who will run as a Republican, still needs to gather thousands of signatures from registered voter by April 4th to qualify for the ballot. Republican candidates need to gather about 4500 signatures from registered voters to qualify, Democrats about 4300, and Libertarians nearly 2300 signatures.

Other Republicans seeking to run include Annie Foster, who serves as Gov. Doug Ducey’s general counsel; Gina Godbehere, a prosecutor for the City of Goodyear, James Austin Woods, son of former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, and Stephen Walker, a former prosecutor for Maricopa County. So far, no GOP candidates have collected enough signatures to qualify.

The lone Democrat running, Julie Gunnigle, has collected enough signatures to qualify but must submit them to the county before it’s official. Michael Kielsky is the only Libertarian running and has not qualified for the ballot.