Maricopa County Attorney’s race heats up as candidates work to gather signatures

Candidates have until April 4 to get the thousands of signatures needed to appear on the primary ballot.
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 8:28 PM MST
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BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Following Allister Adel’s resignation, the clock is ticking for those who want to be elected Maricopa County Attorney. Candidates have until April 4 to get the thousands of signatures needed to appear on the primary ballot. Seven candidates have put their names on the ballot so far, and one candidate was out with the Buckeye community gathering signatures.

Maricopa County hopeful Gina Godbehere (R) was out in Buckeye on Sunday, working phone banks and petitioning to the community. “I spent 25 years in the Maricopa County Attorney’s office as a prosecutor. I’m currently the City of Goodyear prosecutor, and I care about this community,” said Godbehere.

Godbehere said she knew she wanted to jump into the race to help the community. “It’s my passion. I went to law school to become a prosecutor, so when I watch what’s happening in our community and across the country. I had no choice but to get in. I care about public safety. I care about victim’s rights,” she said.

The special election follows Adel’s resignation, who is serving her last week after a rocky tenure. Last week, Democratic politician Julie Gunnigle claimed it took her less than 24 hours to qualify for the race to replace Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel. Several days later, Rachel Mitchell announced she would jump into the race. Mitchell was one of the top prosecutors who questioned Adel’s sobriety and decisions after Adel returned from treatment for alcohol abuse and anxiety in a letter sent to county leaders and the Arizona State Bar.

Gunnigle was also canvassing the Valley this weekend, saying she was humbled by the turnout and support. “It feels like being dropped on a treadmill that’s already running at completely full speed. It’s definitely been an adventure,” said Gunnigle.

So far, Gunnigle is the only candidate who has gotten the required signatures to appear on the ballot. Election officials say the signatures are not valid until they are filed with other nomination paperwork. Republicans need roughly 4,500 signatures, and Democrats need nearly 4,300.

Other Republicans seeking to run include Anni L. Foster, who serves as Gov. Doug Ducey’s general counsel, James Austin Woods, son of former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, and Stephen Walker, a former prosecutor for Maricopa County. Michael Kielsky is the only Libertarian running and has not qualified for the ballot.