As part of our efforts to help inform and empower voters as the 2022 election approaches, The Copper Courier is creating an overview of local races throughout the state, along with access to tools Arizonans need to find out how to vote, who will be on their ballot, and what they can do to participate in the upcoming election.
Bookmark this page for the latest information about the Maricopa County attorney. The Primary Election will be held Aug. 2, and the General Election is Nov. 8.
Maricopa County’s top law enforcement official is up for election after former attorney Allister Adel resigned in March. Adel died due to health complications in April.
Rachel Mitchell, most known for her role in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, was named as interim county attorney and will serve until early 2023 at minimum.
Two Republicans and one Democrat are on the primary election ballot.
Mitchell is known in Arizona politics for her brief first stint as acting county attorney after Bill Montgomery was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2019.
She spent time in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office before she rose to national prominence for her role in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Mitchell questioned both Kavanaugh and the woman who accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.
After the hearings, Mitchell said a reasonable prosecutor would not file charges against Kavanaugh.
Mitchell ran the sex crimes bureau in the County Attorney’s Office for over a decade and was praised for her work by her office and former Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Under Mitchell, the office fired a prosecutor involved in false gang charges against people arrested during the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.
On reproductive rights, Mitchell said she will look to Arizona law when deciding whether or not to prosecute people involved in performing abortions, effectively saying prosecutions for reproductive healthcare are on the table.
In a questionnaire Mitchell filled out when applying for her current position, she said the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors did not make a mistake in certifying the results of the 2020 election.
“In the various ballot reviews, recounts, and completed and interim reports concerning the election, every outcome showed that Maricopa County administered a fair election with no evidence of tampering or fraud,” she wrote.
Gunnigle worked as a prosecutor in Illinois and Indiana as well as a private practice attorney. She lost to former Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel in 2020 by roughly 38,000 votes.
The Democrat is running unopposed on her side of the ticket.
Gunnigle is the only candidate who fully committed to not prosecuting anyone involved in performing an abortion in Arizona.
She has also said she will work to expunge all cannabis convictions, and she believes President Joe Biden won a free and fair election in 2020..
Godbehere is a former prosecutor for the city of Goodyear, and she worked in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for over two decades.
She is also the CEO of Speak Up Stand Up Save a Life, an organization that spreads awareness about substance abuse, bullying, and suicide in Arizona teens.
Godbehere, like her primary opponent Mitchell, said she would follow Arizona law with regards to prosecuting abortions.
She was endorsed by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and US Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona.
On the 2020 elections, Godbehere said the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors did not make a mistake in certifying the 2020 election, but when questioned by CBS 5/3TV’s Dennis Welch she said that she had “questions.”
“I have not seen anything right now that (Joe Biden) is not the president. I could tell you that there are a lot of questions that need to be answers. I would like to know some more answers too,” Godbehere said when pressed on the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
When writing to the Board of Supervisors about securing a job as interim Maricopa County attorney, Godbehere was more diplomatic:
“The Board did not err and took appropriate action in certifying the 2020 election results,” she wrote. “I deal in evidence, truth, and facts. In the various ballot reviews, recounts, and completed and interim reports concerning the election, every outcome shows that Maricopa County administered a fair election with no evidence of tampering or fraud.”