Photo by Gage Skidmore Abraham Hamadeh speaking with attendees at an Attorney General candidate forum hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at the Arizona Commerce Authority in Phoenix, Arizona.
Photo by Gage Skidmore

The Republican candidate for Arizona attorney general also described policy to address climate change as “frightening.”

In a recent radio interview, Republican nominee for Arizona attorney general Abraham Hamadeh took aim not just at his Democratic opponent, Kris Mayes, but with the process that was used to nominate her.

“It’s frightening how close she is,” Hamadeh said on the Seth Leibsohn Show on Aug. 19. “And I tell folks, you know, look how she won. She won her primary because she had no opponent. I mean, the Democrats, they run unopposed. The Democrats run their primaries like Saddam Hussein ran his election. No choice. … So she’s a particularly weak candidate, in my opinion.”

Little Evidence, Lots of Rhetoric

Since the start of his campaign, Hamadeh has become infamous for his inflammatory remarks. These have included references to conspiracy theories, such as the antisemitic theory that wealthy Democratic donor George Soros acts as a puppetmaster manipulating national politics, or the idea of the “deep state,” an entrenched network of government officials who are often said to be plotting against Donald Trump or conservatives as a whole.

In the interview, Hamadeh claimed that Mayes has been successful so far because the deep state favors her—and that the mainstream media, which he baselessly claims is controlled by the Democratic Party, has let her “frightening” stances on climate change and other issues go unquestioned.

“I mean, she has literally said that she wants to, on day one in the office … appoint a climate change czar,” Hamadeh said.

In an interview with Ballotpedia, Mayes explained her reasons for wanting to focus on Climate Change as attorney general, as well as her planned policies. 

“As attorney general I will appoint a Climate Director within the Environmental Enforcement section who will take the lead on fighting climate change, expand the number of lawyers in the Environmental Enforcement section, and will certify any clean energy rules that the Arizona Corporation Commission passes, in the hope of establishing the requirement for our state’s utilities of a 100 percent clean energy standard,” Mayes said.

In the interview, Hamadeh continued: “The deep state is very real. The swamp is real and the media has become the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. And this is why I don’t tolerate — this is not the free and fair press of, you know, ten, 15, 20 years ago. This is absolute insanity, what’s going on. And they’re giving Kris Mayes a free pass.”

Party Primaries, Explained

While primary races exist to hand electoral power to everyday voters – in particular, allowing new candidates to enter the political system – an uncontested primary like Mayes’ is far from proof that a tyrannical deep state is selecting its preferred candidates for power. 

According to Barbara Norrander, a Professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Government and Public Policy, there are many factors that can impact how many candidates choose to run in a given election.

“The typical argument is that a hard fought primary election between two or three candidates may actually hurt the winning candidate in the fall,” Norrander explained to the Copper Courier. “One argument is that supporters of the losing candidates may not want to vote for the winning candidate due to hard feelings over the conduct of the primary campaign.  This is called the divisive primary theory, though the theory has many detractors as well.  The divisiveness of the primary may well reflect the divisions within a party more than disgruntled supporters of the losing candidate.”

Uncontested Primaries Are Nothing New

Mayes’ uncontested primary makes more sense given the political climate in Arizona, which tends to lean Republican (albeit not overwhelmingly). It can also explain why the GOP primary brought in five candidates.

“Primaries are usually more competitive in the majority party in that state, as candidates are attracted to the party that has more likelihood of winning the general election,” Norrander said.

Furthermore, Democrats are not the only ones to run uncontested primary elections this year. The following GOP candidates passed through their primaries without opposition on the ballot:

  • CD-3 Candidate Jeff Zink
  • CD-5 Incumbent Andy Biggs (though he faced multiple write-in candidates)
  • CD-8 Incumbent Debbie Lesko (who will also face no Democratic opponent in the general election)
  • Numerous candidates for AZ legislature and senate

Hamadeh did not respond to a request for comment on whether he thinks these Republicans are also comparable to Saddam Hussein.

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