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Tucsonan Fryer makes 3rd Dem running for Az governor

Another Democrat has jumped into the gubernatorial primary: Local YWCA head Kelly Fryer is joining Tucson legislator Steve Farley and ASU professor David Garcia, who lost a 2014 race for state schools superintendent.

Fryer announced her campaign Tuesday, saying she's running "because I believe there are enough of us who are ready to stand up for ourselves, for our families and neighbors. I believe that together, we can solve every single problem we are facing in this state."

Fryer has been the CEO of YWCA Southern Arizona, a nonprofit working to empower women and end racism, since 2013. For a year before that, she was the head of Arizona List, which raises money for women candidates.

Prior to that, she was for nearly a decade the head of A Renewal Enterprise, a Chicago-area communications consulting firm serving faith-based nonprofits and political groups.

Fryer was the senior pastor for a progressive Lutheran church in the Chicago area in the 1990s.

Although Fryer works and rents a home in downtown Tucson, she and her wife Tana own a home in Bisbee, where she is registered to vote.

"This campaign is about inspiring people to get involved, raise our voices, vote our values and step up to lead in our communities. Less than half of registered Arizona voters cast a ballot in the last race for governor. It’s time for the people of Arizona to take a seat at the decision-making tables," she said in a campaign announcement.

Fryer will take a leave of absence from her YWCA post for the campaign, with the group's COO, Liz Rabago, taking over as acting CEO beginning February 1. relies on contributions from our readers to support our reporting on Tucson's civic affairs. Donate to today!
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Fryer will face off with Garcia and Farley — who has termed out in the state Legislature — in the August primary to determine who will meet GOP Gov. Doug Ducey in the November general election.

Although Farley announced his campaign in June, after nearly a year of open preparation, Fryer's lined up at least one prominent local supporter. Her campaign chairman is Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias.

Fryer joined Farley and Garcia in opting to run outside the state's Clean Elections public funding system for candidates. While that removes limits on spending, it also means each is forgoing up to $2 million in campaign funds.

Candidates can opt back into Clean Elections by August.

Update: This report has been updated to reflect Fryer’s residence in Bisbee and Cochise County voter registration.

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Kelly Fryer