Candidates vie for Maricopa County leadership roles

Registration deadline for Aug. 4 Primary Election is July 6

Posted 5/13/20

Voters will decide in the August primary who will compete in November to fill important elected positions representing the more than 4 million residents of Maricopa County.

To Our Valued Readers –

Visitors to our website will be limited to five stories per month unless they opt to subscribe. The five stories do not include our exclusive content written by our journalists.

For $5.99, less than 20 cents a day, digital subscribers will receive unlimited access to, including exclusive content from our newsroom and access to our Daily Independent e-edition.

Our commitment to balanced, fair reporting and local coverage provides insight and perspective not found anywhere else.

Your financial commitment will help to preserve the kind of honest journalism produced by our reporters and editors. We trust you agree that independent journalism is an essential component of our democracy. Please click here to subscribe.

Charlene Bisson, Publisher, Independent Newsmedia

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor

Candidates vie for Maricopa County leadership roles

Registration deadline for Aug. 4 Primary Election is July 6


Voters will decide in the August primary who will compete in November to fill important elected positions representing the more than 4 million residents of Maricopa County.

Some incumbents — such as those running for sheriff, assessor and county attorney — face real competition in the Aug. 4 Primary Election; while other seats — such as those for school superintendent and Board of Supervisors — have no competitive primary races this year.

County Assessor

Incumbent Eddie Cook faces one fellow Republican challenger in the August Primary to determine which will compete against a Democratic opponent in November. Mr. Cook served on the Gilbert City Council from 2011-2020 before being appointed to fill the assessor role by vote of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in February.

Mr. Cook was appointed following the suspension and subsequent resignation of Paul Peterson, who faces criminal charges in Arizona and Utah related to an alleged adoption scheme involving pregnant women recruited from the U.S. Marshall Islands. Mr. Peterson pleaded not-guilty to the charges.

Facing off against Mr. Cook in August will be Rodney Glassman, who ran for the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2018, coming in third in that race with 25.1% of the vote behind Democrat Sandra D. Kenney (25.7%) and Republican Justin Olson (25.2%) in the general.

Mr. Glassman came in second in the August 2018 primary, taking 22.8% behind Mr. Olson, who got 25.2% of the vote.

Mr. Glassman previously ran as a Democrat to challenge the late Sen. John McCain for his seat in the U.S. Senate in the 2010 General Election; he lost to Mr. McCain after gaining 34.7% of the votes compared to the incumbent’s 58.9%.

The winner in the Republic primary will face off against Democrat Aaron Connor in November. Mr. Connor is a Phoenix resident who has worked in the mortgage industry for 15 years, according to his campaign website. He faces no primary challenger.

County Attorney

Incumbent Allister Adel faces no Republican challenger for County Attorney in August after being appointed by the Board of Supervisors in October 2019 to fill the position. Her appointment came after the previous County Attorney, Bill Montgomery, was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court by Gov. Doug Ducey in September.

A trio of Democratic candidates will compete in August to determine who will run against Ms. Adel in November.

Julie Gunnigle previously ran for one of two seats representing District 15 in the Arizona House of Representatives. Advancing after getting 34.3% of the vote during the August 2018 primary, she came in fourth in the November 2018 General Election with 21.1% of the vote as Republicans Nancy Barto and John Allen won in District 15 race with 29.1% and 27.9% of the vote respectively.

Will Knight, according to his campaign website, is an experienced attorney, who left private practice to serve as a public defender in Maricopa County. He lists no prior legislative races or experience.

Bob McWhirter at his campaign website highlights a 30-year career as a defense attorney and public defender; he claims no prior legislative experience.

Check back with in the near future for a Q&A of these candidates.

County Recorder

Democrat Adrian Fontes, the incumbent, faces one of two Republican primary challengers for Maricopa County Recorder in November. Mr. Fontes took 50.1% of the vote in November 2016 to narrowly defeat Republican incumbent Helen Purcell (49.5%).

Clair Van Steenwyk, a retired businessman and Sun City West resident, first ran for office in Arizona, when he was one of four write-in candidates for one of two District 13 seats in the Arizona House — he came in sixth with .1% of votes cast in the November 2012 General Election.

Mr. Van Steenwyk was subsequently defeated by incumbent Trent Franks in the race for the Congressional District 8 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the August 2014 primary after attracting 26.7% of the vote; he lost to Mr. Franks again in August 2016 with 28.9% of the vote for that seat.

Mr. Van Steenwyk also challenged Mr. McCain for his U.S. Senate seat in the August 2016 primary and came in fourth out of four with 3.6% of the vote.

He was also one of more than a dozen candidates who challenged Debbie Lesko in the February 2018 special election for the CD8 U.S. House seat, coming in fifth with 2.3% of the vote.

Most recently, Mr. Van Steenwyk challenged David Livingston in the August 2018 for primary for the Legislative District 22 seat in the Arizona Senate. He lost to Mr. Livingston after taking 29.7% of the vote.

Republican Stephen Richer, according to his campaign website, is an attorney. A Phoenix resident, he claims no prior legislative races or experience.

County Sheriff

Four Republicans will vie in the August Primary to determine who will challenge Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, a Democrat, for his leadership of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Joe Arpaio served previously as the county’s top cop from 1992 until 2016, before losing with a 56% to 44% margin against Mr. Penzone in the November 2016 General Election.

Mr. Arpaio won the August 2016 primary after taking 65.4% of the vote in a four-way Republican race.

Mike Crawford at this campaign website lists previous service as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, as well as stints as an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as an investigator and instructor with the Glendale Police Department, and as a deputy sheriff in the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. He claims no prior legislative experience.

Jerry Sheridan at this campaign website touts 33 years of experience with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, serving in leadership positions from corporal to chief deputy. A Peace Officer Standards and Training-certified instructor, Mr. Sheridan is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He claims no prior legislative experience.

Mesa resident Lehland Burton is on the primary ballot as a write-in candidate. He has worked as a security guard, but has no experience in public law enforcement, he told the Daily Independent in a January 6 interview.

County Treasurer

The final competitive race in the upcoming primary is for Maricopa County Treasurer, for which two Republicans will face off in August to decide who will compete with Democrat Daniel Toporek in November.

Republican incumbent Royce T. Flora has served in the role since 2017 after defeating Democrat Joe Downs in a 54% to 46% showing in the November 2016 General Election.

Challenging Mr. Flora in the primary is John Allen, who currently serves in the Arizona House, where he represents District 15. He was first elected to the Arizona House in 2012 and is not seeking reelection to that body this year due to term limit rules.

Mr. Allen has served as House Majority Leader during his tenure.

Uncontested positions

The role of Maricopa County School Superintendent currently has no contest in August. Republican incumbent Steve Watson faces no primary challenger; nor does his presumed Democratic opponent for the November General Election, Jeanne Casteen.

Likewise, there are no primary contests for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Three of the five supervisors, however, will face challengers in the November General Election.

In the November election, Republican incumbent Jack Sellers will face Democrat Jevin Hodge for his District 1 seat; Republican Steve Chucri will face Democrat Deedra Abboud in District 2; and Republican Bill Gates will face Democrat Whitney Walker in District 3.

Board Chairman and Republican Clint Hickman is running unopposed for District 4; while Democrat Steve Gallardo runs unopposed for his District 5 seat.

Registration deadline

To vote in the August 4 Primary Election in Arizona, voters must be registered as a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian to vote in their own party’s races; those registered as Independent can vote in any primary they choose.

Those who register on the Permanent Early Voting List will automatically receive their mail-in ballots by mail about 27 days before any election for which they are eligible to vote. To sign up for the PEVL, visit The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 4 primary is Monday, July 6. Visit to register online or visit for more information.