We’ve spent 2022 rounding up information so you can make an informed vote for candidates that uphold the separation of church and state.
Below, we’ve compiled the major points about the races we’ve been watching.
While Secular AZ does not endorse candidates and our directory is not exhaustive, we believe it will provide many of you with the background necessary to confidently ascertain which candidates share your values.
Former Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) is running on a platform that includes upholding reproductive freedoms, expanding anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ+, and protecting secular public schools.
Her opponent Kari Lake (R)’s positions include criminalizing abortion, sending public money to private and religious schools, supporting conversion therapy, opposing the expansion of LGBTQ+ protections, opposing physician-assisted suicide, and school policies “outing” LGBTQ+ children to their parents.
This office can determine whether anti-abortion laws are enforced in Arizona. Kris Mayes (D) supports reproductive freedoms. Abe Hamadeh (R) plans to uphold any abortion bans on the books.
Secretary of State
Mark Finchem (R) holds one of Secular AZ’s lowest voting records on church/state issues from his time in the Legislature; is running on a platform of restricting voting because the 2020 election was “stolen”; was at the January 6th coup attempt; and is a member of the Christian nationalist militant group the Oath Keepers.
Adrian Fontes (D) is running on a platform of increasing transparency in the Secretary of State’s office, making voting easier for registered voters. (Watch Fontes in our Candidate forum here.)
Superintendent of Public Education
Kathy Hoffman (D) is on record supporting LGBTQ+ equality and sex education, opposing book bans, opposing school vouchers, and supporting separation of church and state in public schools.
Thomas Horne (R) supports school vouchers, has called for the removal of LGBTQ+-affirming resources from the Superintendent’s website, and supports the ban on transgender girls participating on girls’ sports teams. (He also has a track record supporting Christian nationalist policies such as abortion bans as a former Legislator and Attorney General.)
Incumbent Mark Kelly (D) is running on a platform of protecting abortion rights and is a co-sponsor the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would encode Roe v. Wade protections into law.
Blake Masters (R) supports abortion bans; opposes expansions to LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination law; and supports “religious freedom” laws allowing businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people for religious reasons.
David Schweikert (R) supports total bans on abortion and opposes non-discrimination ordinances protecting LGBTQ. Jevin Hodge (D) is running on a platform of supporting secular public education and reproductive freedom.
Tom O’Halleran (D) has voted for numerous bills protecting and expanding access to reproductive health care and is a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus. Eli Crane (R) supports abortion bans and discriminatory “religious freedom” laws.
Ruben Gallego (D) is a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, advocates for reproductive freedom, and opposes private/religious school voucher programs. Jeffrey Zink (R) supports abortion bans, opposes expansions to LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination laws, and supports private/religious school vouchers.
Greg Stanton (D) is running on a pro-choice platform and is endorsed by LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Coalition. Kelly Cooper (R) supports abortion bans, opposes expanding LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination law, and supports businesses being able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ for religious reasons.
Andy Biggs (R) supports total abortion bans, opposes expanding LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination law, and supports businesses being able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ for religious reasons. Javier Garcia Ramos (D) is running on a platform to uphold separation of church and state. However, as Ramos is considered to have little chance of victory in this “safe” Republican district, Democratic party leaders and secular activists are urging a vote for Independent candidate Clint Smith instead, who is considered to have the best chance at unseating the the Republican incumbent.
Kirsten Engel (D) holds a relatively high Secular AZ scorecard rank from her time in the Legislature and is running on a pro-choice platform. Juan Ciscomani (R) supports abortion bans, opposes expanding LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination law, and supports businesses being able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ for religious reasons.
Raul Grijalva (D) has a record in voting for bills upholding the right to choose and LGBTQ+ protections. Luis Pozzolo (R) is running on a platform opposing sex education and policies which affirm of LGBTQ+ identity in schools.
Debbie Lesko (R) supports abortion bans, opposes expanding LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination law, and supports businesses being able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ for religious reasons. She is opposed by two write-in candidates from the Democratic Party: Alixandria Guzman and Jeremy Spreitzer.
Paul Gosar (R) has defended Christian nationalist Jan. 6th insurrectionists and Holocaust deniers, and wishes to designate abortion rights groups as “terrorists.” He is opposed by two Democratic write-in candidates: Richard Grayson and Thomas Tzitzura.
Maricopa County Attorney
Julie Gunnigle (D) is running on a platform to protect all people from abortion prosecutions, including doctors and patients. Rachel Mitchell (R) has wavered on this position throughout the year, having previously promised to “uphold the law” regarding abortion bans and to prosecute doctors.
While many races take place in “safe” Democrat or Republican districts, partisan research indicates five legislative districts with competitive races. Defeating the Republican candidates in these races would change the balance of power in the Legislature, making it possible to pass bills re-separating church and state.
Senate: Jeanne Casteen—Executive Director of Secular AZ—is running against Republican Steve Kaiser. Kaiser was infamous this year for sponsoring a bill forcing teachers to “out” LGBTQ+ students to their parents.
House: Incumbent Judy Schwiebert is running as the only Democrat against Christian nationalist Republicans Justin Wilmeth and Christian Lamar for one of the available two seats. Lamar recently received coverage for having assaulted his ex-fiance.
Senate: Democrat Christine Marsh holds a 100% voting record from Secular AZ this year. She is facing Nancy Barto, sponsor of major bills banning abortion and discriminating against transgender people.
Senate: Eva Burch (D) is running against Trumpist Republican Robert Scantlebury, a former police officer carrying charges of abuse of force.
House: Democrats Lorena Austin and Seth Blattman are running against Republicans Mary Ann Mendoza and Kathy Pearce (wife of former State Sena4tor Russell Pearce, recalled in 2010 over immigrant discrimination bill SB1070.)
Write in Candidates in LD22
All State Senate candidates in LD22 are write-ins.
Votes won’t count for Rep. Diego Espinoza—the only candidate on the ballot—as Espinoza resigned the race to take a job at SRP.
Eva Diaz (D) was the only candidate to spotlight a separation of church and state issue as her top legislative priority in a survey by the Arizona Republic. She the only candidate to carry the endorsement of an openly atheist Democratic party leader, Sen. Juan Mendez, whose name appears among other heavy hitters within the party such as Superintendent Kathy Hoffman.
School Board: Known Supporters of Church and State Separation
While we do not have an exhaustive list of all candidate positions on key issues, the below candidates all accepted invitations Secular AZ’s Candidate Forums, where they promised to uphold separation of church and state in schools, as well as LGBTQ+ protections for youth and science-based sex education. (See their full quotes on church and state here or click below to watch the candidates on our forums.)
School Board: Notable Christian nationalist candidates
Deer Valley Unified School District
Paul Alan Carver is a known member of the far-right Three Percenter militia with a history of campaigning against LGBTQ+ interests.
No explicitly church/state issues are at stake at the Water Board. However, as this is an important race, readers may wish to know some details about the candidates including party affiliations, which the Arizona Republic recently detailed here.
Arizona Corporation Commission
The Arizona Republic has a breakdown of the partisan politics of this race here.
Note that changing the makeup of the Commission may help to resolve an ongoing issue with public prayer at ACC public meetings.
Secular AZ has not been tracking races for Mayor, City Council, Judges, or ballot initiatives this year, but like-minded followers may be interested in the opinions of independent progressive activist Victor Morris on the judicial nominees and propositions.