The state’s leading business advocacy group is making a major push in the final days before the election to elect pro-business candidates to statewide and legislative offices, as well as urging voters to reject Proposition 127, a costly energy mandate.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry throughout the election cycle has been touting its candidate endorsements, and has been advertising on television, radio, digital platforms, and via direct mail for their preferred candidates.
“We’re pulling out all the stops,” Arizona Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer said. “We don’t want voters to have to do any guessing as to where the state’s job creators stand this election.”
The Chamber has issued statewide office endorsements in the race for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, and superintendent of public instruction.
In the governor, attorney general and superintendent races, the Chamber has made ads that are running across the state on digital platforms.
“These races are simply too important for the business community not to be involved,” Hamer said. “We’re talking about the positions most responsible for determining what Arizona’s future looks like. An Arizona with Gov. Ducey and Attorney General Brnovich continuing in their posts and with Frank Riggs as our superintendent means that brighter days are ahead for the state.”
The Chamber has also been active in closely watched races that will determine control of both chambers of the state Legislature.
In Legislative District 17, which encompasses parts of Chandler and Gilbert, the Chamber is strongly backing Rep. J.D. Mesnard, who is seeking a state Senate seat, and Rep. Jeff Weninger, who is running for reelection.
“Mesnard and Weninger are out of chamber of commerce central casting for what we look for in candidates,” Hamer said. “You will be hard pressed to find two candidates who understand the needs of job creators better than they do. And we’re very bullish on Chandler City Councilwoman Nora Ellen in her election bid for the state House. It’s a great slate.”
In another close race, the Chamber is backing state Rep. Jill Norgaard for reelection in Legislative District 18, which encompasses Ahwatukee and South Tempe, West Chandler, and parts of the west side of Mesa.
“Jill Norgaard has been a fierce advocate for her district and for policies that support job creation,” Hamer said. “That district is incredibly competitive. We are working hard to make the case for Rep. Norgaard’s reelection. She’s the right choice by far.”
The Chamber is also backing state Rep. Paul Boyer’s bid for election to the Senate, a seat once occupied by Kimberly Yee, who is seeking the state treasurer’s office and who the Chamber is also supporting.
In Boyer’s district, Legislative District 20 in northwest Phoenix, the Chamber is running an ad in Spanish on digital platforms that touts Boyer’s commitment to education issues.
“We want to talk to all voters, whether in English or in Spanish,” Hamer said. “Paul Boyer is someone who parents can count on to support education policies that will help prepare our kids for college and career.”
Perhaps the most hotly contested race is for the Legislative District 28 state Senate seat, which pits incumbent state Sen. Kate Brophy McGee against challenger Christine Marsh.
“Every business group in the state is watching this one,” Hamer said. “Sen. Brophy McGee has been a model legislator. The Chamber supports her strongly. But the partisan breakdown of the district is so close that it’s no wonder the race has attracted so much attention.”
The Chamber’s ads touting Brophy McGee both focus on education. One features a Valley teacher making the case for Brophy McGee, while the other features former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera reminding voters of Brophy McGee’s support for a budget deal that will result in an average statewide teacher pay increase of 20 percent.
“Education is the number one issue on many voters’ mind,” Hamer said. “But the good news if you’re an LD 28 voter is that you could not have a stronger education champion than Kate Brophy McGee. She’s got a record for education and for job creators that we are eager to talk about.”
The Chamber is involved in other races, including in northern Arizona’s Legislative District 6, where the business group has been running radio ads for weeks backing the reelection of state Sen. Sylvia Allen.
“We represent the party of business,” Hamer said. “We’re working to ensure that a pro-business, pro-growth majority returns to the state Capitol in January. Many of these races will be close, but I believe we’ll be successful.”
The business community has united in its call for the defeat of Proposition 127, an energy mandate bankrolled by California activist billionaire Tom Steyer.
Chamber CEO Hamer appeared in an ad for the No on 127 campaign.
“As I say in the ad, solar is on my family’s home and I once led a national solar energy advocacy group,” Hamer said. “But the mandates contained in Proposition 127 are so onerous, so expensive, that they would do tremendous damage to our economy. I am confident that voters are going to reject it by a wide margin.”