Arizona Secretary of State Candidates Debate Their Qualifications for Governor

Jul 2, 2014

Three Republicans are vying to become the next secretary of state. So at a televised debate on KAET-TV Tuesday night, moderator Ted Simons asked them what qualifies them to be governor. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Justin Pierce, Michele Reagan and Wil Cardon debate Tuesday night as each seeks to become the Republican nominee for secretary of state. Hosting is Ted Simons, right, of KAET-TV.
Credit Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

The question is relevant. Four times in the past four decades a governor has died, quit, been thrown out of office or convicted of a crime. And, that elevates the secretary of state to the top spot. Michele Reagan boasted of her 12 years in the Legislature, something she said means she knows how government is run and even how to prepare a budget. Justin Pierce said he’s been a legislator, too, albeit not for anywhere near as long.

“I don’t think you can measure it purely in years. I’m in my second term, a little more than a couple of years, Michele. But, I think that has been critical experience. But, I’ve also got significant experience in the private sector as well,” he said.

And, Pierce said that includes being a partner at a major law firm. Wil Cardon sniffed at that.

“I think it’s great. It’s not the same, Justin. I hire lots of attorneys. And, it’s not the same being the attorney advising someone to do something as the one where the buck stops and you have to make the hard decisions,” he said.

And, Cardon said the state would be better served with someone with experience as a business executive like himself rather than a legislator.