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Arizona regent, developer Karrin Taylor Robson joins race for governor

The Republican primary for governor got busy in a hurry after Karrin Taylor Robson, a developer and member of the Arizona Board of Regents, became the second GOP candidate to announce in a day.

Touting herself as a lifelong conservative Republican, Taylor Robson filed a campaign committee with the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday and launched her campaign with an announcement video on her website.

“In just a few months, we’ve seen the direction Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want to take this country, and as Arizonans we need to fight back. We’re going to fight for Arizona values, and I’m going to spend the next few months visiting your community and hearing from you about how we can stand together and fight the radical Biden-Harris agenda,” she said in her campaign launch video.

Taylor Robson’s announcement was quiet: She didn’t issue a press release or even use her Twitter account to announce her long-expected entry into the race.

Taylor Robson is the founder and president of Arizona Strategies, a Phoenix-based land use strategy company. Prior to founding the company, she served as executive vice president for the development company DMB Associates, and worked as a land use, zoning and development attorney with the law firm Biskind, Hunt & Taylor.

Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Taylor Robson to the Arizona Board of Regents in 2017 to fill a vacancy, and reappointed her to a new eight-year term in 2020.

Taylor Robson has never held or run for political office, but is a member of the Kunasek political family. Her father, Carl Kunasek, served as president of the state Senate and as corporation commissioner, while her brother, Andy Kunasek, served on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Her husband, Ed Robson, a homebuilder and major Republican donor, is the founder and president of Robson Communities, a luxury retirement community developer.

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Taylor Robson is widely expected to self-fund her campaign, though she told the Arizona Mirror in 2019 that she wouldn’t rely exclusively on her own money if she ran.

Just hours before Taylor Robson entered the race, state Treasurer Kimberly Yee launched her campaign for governor. Yee was the first noteworthy Republican to enter the race to succeed Ducey, who is term-limited and will leave office after next year. Former Congressman Matt Salmon, currently a lobbyist for Arizona State University, is expected to join the GOP primary.

On the Democratic side, Marco Lopez, formerly the mayor of Nogales and Arizona Department of Commerce director under Gov. Janet Napolitano, announced his candidacy in March. Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is widely expected to enter the race, and Congressman Greg Stanton is rumored to be considering a run, as well.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Karrin Taylor Robson speaking at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry's Leadership Series in September 2015.