After 18 years at the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Don Stapley is setting his sights on Congress.
Stapley said he filed paperwork Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission to run in the 9th Congressional District, which covers parts of Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Tempe. Stapley lives outside of the district – the boundary in Mesa is actually Stapley Drive, named for the supervisor’s family – but Stapley said he grew up in the district and plans to move there.
“Having lived in Arcadia and having lived in Mesa, it feels like home,” Stapley said. “Eighteen years is a good run in any elected office. It’ll be 18 years when I finish this term. I think the challenge and the opportunity to represent the voters of the new District 9 is a great one for me. It’s a great fit for me.”
Stapley said he’s proud of his record at Maricopa County, which he touted as the only debt-free county of its size in the country, and said he has a conservative philosophy with a record as a consensus-builder.
“That’s the model I intend to bring to Congress,” Stapley said.
A poll commissioned a couple weeks ago by former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, another potential CD9 candidate, showed Stapley with a narrow lead among prospective Republican candidates in the district. Stapley wasn’t sure whether he would be considered the frontrunner in what could be a crowded GOP primary, but said, “I would hope so.”
“I would hope that the voters would recognize that the success we’ve had running the county, creating I think a stellar record in terms of Maricopa County itself as one of the best-run counties in the nation,” he said.
Stapley said he hasn’t yet taken on any campaign staff. He said he is looking at several local consulting firms, as well as one out-of-state firm.
Despite being front-and-center in the turmoil surrounding Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Stapley said he didn’t think the issue would have a negative effect on his campaign, and suggested that it may in fact have a positive impact. Charges the duo lodged against Stapley were dropped, and Stapley said he expects Thomas to be disbarred in the coming days.
The new district is expected to be highly competitive. Republicans have a slight registration edge, but historically Democrats perform slightly better, and statewide Democratic candidates fared well in CD9 in 2008 and 2010.
Stapley’s announcement came on the same day that businessman Steve Moak, who finished in the 2010 GOP primary in the 3rd Congressional District, announced that he would not run in CD9. Congressman Ben Quayle, who lives in CD9, announced in early February that he would run for reelection in a neighboring district against fellow Republican incumbent Congressman David Schweikert.
But even without Moak, the field may get crowded. Already, former Chandler City Councilman Martin Sepulveda filed candidacy paperwork with the FEC last week. And Parker, another CD3 contender from 2010, is widely expected to announce his candidacy soon.
Scottsdale City Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman are also considering runs for the Republican nomination. Businessman Travis Grantham and former U.S. Air Force pilot Wendy Rogers, the 2010 GOP nominee in Legislative District 17, are already in the race.
Former Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny, Sen. David Schapira and former Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are vying for the Democratic nomination.