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In a video released in both English and Spanish, the 42-year-old Democrat said he was running to succeed Gov. Doug Ducey. Screenshot: Marco López Campaign.
In a video released in both English and Spanish, the 42-year-old Democrat said he was running to succeed Gov. Doug Ducey. Screenshot: Marco López Campaign.

Marco López wants to be Arizona’s next governor and solidify it as a blue state

The former Nogales Mayor is the first to announce a 2022 bid for Arizona governor.

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Marco López, the former Nogales mayor, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief of staff under the Obama administration became the first person to formally announce his candidacy for Arizona's 2022 gubernatorial race on Tuesday. 

In a video released in both English and Spanish, the 42-year-old Democrat said he was running to succeed Republican Gov. Doug Ducey because he believes the Arizona promise isn’t being met. 

“Let’s face it. State leaders failed us as the Coronavirus cost us lives and hammered our economy. And our legislature is run by extremists promoting bizarre conspiracy theories,” Lopez says in his first campaign video.

He grew up in the border town of Nogales. The son of two Mexican immigrants, López graduated from the University of Arizona and became mayor of his hometown at age 22. 

“My story begins right here in Nogales, where my parents came seeking a better life. I grew up right here,” he said.

After serving as mayor, Lopez led the Arizona-Mexico Commission under former Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano before taking a position at the Arizona Department of Commerce. Later, when former President Obama chose Napolitano to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, López followed as U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief of staff.

Following his time in the Obama administration, López has been working in the private sector for nearly a decade. 

Since 2011 he has served as President and CEO of International Business Solutions, Inc. (IBS), a business advisory firm that provides strategic business development and policy direction to both international and domestic organizations.

López is also a founding partner for SkyBridge Arizona, a major, developing facility at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport intended to allow U.S. and Mexican customs officials to inspect and process shipments jointly.

The main points outlined in his video include transforming Arizona’s education system from pre-k to higher education by increasing apprenticeships and certification programs, creating new manufacturing and technology jobs, and ensuring that every Arizonan has access to affordable healthcare. 

It is not lost that there is heavy appeal to Democratic Latino voters in López’s video. 

From his story, to the people captured, and his initiatives. The bilingual representation right off the bat is also a testament to outreach efforts. 

After all, the first upset of the 2020 election was Arizona’s stunning flip from red to blue. 

The answer to its flip was largely through Mexican-American mobilization and turnout, and more than a decade of grassroots efforts to increase the growing presence of Latino voters at the polls. 

Most recently, the repercussions of COVID-19 may have further tipped the scale, if not among the disproportionately-affected Latinx demographic, but also among Native Americans, particularly the Navajo Nation, which saw slim and delayed assistance from Ducey. 

But as the race to replace him heats up, more condenders are expected to throw their hats in. It’s an evitability that for Lopez, could spell trouble if a progressive candidate makes a strong showing.

What could get in his way

His extensive history with CBP during the record deportations carried out under Obama’s administration may bring attention to his role during the time period.

So could his role as an adviser to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, reports AZCentral. 

Slim, as one of the richest men in the world, also brings attention to his extensive business ventures and possible special interests. López already is fighting rumors that he plans to fund his campaign out of pocket, though he has responded by saying he plans to accept political donations like any other candidate. 

While López is the first to formally announce his intention to run to be Arizona’s next Governor, he is also expected to face heavy opposition from GOP leaders who are fighting against the blue tide.

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