Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said he’s considering a run for governor in 2014.
Carmona, the independent-turned-Democrat who lost by just three percentage points to Jeff Flake in the 2012 U.S. Senate race, said supporters from Arizona, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere are urging him to make a run for the Ninth Floor.
“I’m being inundated by offers of support, of money, of organization, both from Washington and here in the state,” Carmona told the Arizona Capitol Times. “I’ve still got an open mind on everything. I never intended to run for Senate, but people all over suggested I give it a try. I don’t want to rule anything out right now, but I’ll just keep considering all my options.”
Carmona said he’ll need at least a few months to think about the race and isn’t sure when he’ll make a decision. Sources familiar with his plans said he will likely make a decision during the second quarter of 2013.
Carmona said a lot of people who supported him in his Senate race are now turning their attention to the governor’s race. So far, he said, he hasn’t reached out to anyone, but said people are calling him.
“I’m flattered that there’s so much interest in me. I guess for that year of working hard a lot of people have developed some confidence in me,” Carmona said. “You have an infrastructure after a race and people believe in you so they start calling and say why not try to do something else. So I’ve had offers of funding, of organizational support, etc., etc. But it’s nothing that I solicited.”
Democrats hadn’t run a competitive U.S. Senate race in decades, but Carmona energized the party with his challenge to Flake. He raised nearly $6.5 million, attracted millions in outside spending and brought national attention to the race.
Carmona, who served under Republican President George W. Bush but later criticized his policies, had been courted by both parties in the past as a potential candidate for governor and Congress as well.
With Carmona eying the race, Democrats might be looking at a three-person field for their 2014 gubernatorial primary. House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, and Fred DuVal, a former Arizona Board of Regents chairman, Clinton White House aide and longtime Democratic operative, are both considering runs as well.