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Former secretary of state candidate Steve Gaynor joins GOP primary for Arizona governor

Businessman Steve Gaynor, the Republican nominee who lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the 2018 race for secretary of state, is now setting his sights on a higher office, throwing his hat into the ring for governor and adding to an already crowded GOP field.

“We all know the problems we face — they include securing our border, election integrity, our growing water shortage, public education, critical race theory, all intensified by a virus from China,” Gaynor said in an email to supporters announcing his candidacy on Friday. “Career politicians and political insiders have gotten us into this, but they can’t get us out. Sound bites and slick answers telling us what we want to hear just to win elections just won’t cut it anymore.”

In his email, Gaynor, who’s never held elected office, touted himself as a political outsider who isn’t beholden to Arizona’s political power structure.

“As your Governor, I will bring my outsider perspective, my business experience and my conservative principles to attack these problems. The Arizona Swamp can’t stop me because my only allegiance is to the people,” he wrote.

Gaynor owns B&D Litho California, a commercial printing company in Ontario, California. In 2018, the first-time candidate ran for secretary of state, trouncing embattled incumbent Michele Reagan in the GOP primary. But he fell short in the general election, where Hobbs defeated him by about 20,000 votes.

In 2019, Gaynor founded Fair Maps Arizona, a nonprofit he created to influence the current redistricting process. The group is one of at least two GOP organizations formed to represent Republican interests in redistricting in Arizona. Gaynor’s group was active in trying to recruit people to apply to be the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s chairman.

Gaynor said in his announcement email that he won’t abandon his redistricting work while running for governor.

“I will continue that work until the job is done,” he said.

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Gaynor largely self-funded his 2018 campaign, spending about $2.6 million of his own money on the race. But Hobbs received a substantial amount of outside help, with the Arizona Democratic Party spending about $2.2 million to assist her in the general election.

Hobbs is now running for governor as well and is the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, meaning it’s possible that she and Gaynor could have a rematch of their 2018 race in the general election.

Gaynor’s entry into the Republican primary adds to what is already a crowded race. Former Fox 10 anchor Kari Lake, developer and regent Karrin Taylor Robson, former Congressman Matt Salmon and state Treasurer Kimberly Yee are also vying for the GOP nomination.

Gaynor did not respond to a message from the Arizona Mirror.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.


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Doug Ducey/Team Ducey | CC BY-SA 2.0

Steve Gaynor at a 2018 campaign event.

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