Former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman is bowing out of the governor’s race and running instead for state treasurer.
In a press statement on Thursday, Hallman said Arizona needs leadership at all levels, not just in the Governor’s Office. He said the Treasurer’s Office would be a good fit for his background as a former mayor, economist and educator.
Hallman said he was also persuaded by a campaign aimed at drafting him into the treasurer’s race.
“With me and other strong candidates for governor emerging, people kept asking if there were other offices in which I might be able to apply my skills, background, expertise and energy,” Hallman said in a press statement. “I will have the same priorities – job creation, improving our educational system, and promoting lower taxes and fiscal responsibility – for the office of Treasurer as I would for the office of governor.”
Political consultant Nathan Sproul, who has close ties with the former mayor, circulated an email earlier in the week asking people to sign onto the “Draft Hallman for Treasurer” effort. The list of “Draft Hallman” supporters included auto dealership owner and big-dollar GOP contributor Jim Click, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, longtime Republican operative Steve Twist, former Arizona House speakers Kirk Adams and Jim Weiers, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, former Treasurer Dean Martin, and prominent businesspeople such as Eric Crown, Doug Pruitt and Steve Chanen, among others.
In a letter to Hallman on Thursday – the same day the former mayor announced that he was switching races – the supporters said it’s important for Arizona to have strong leadership in all five of the major statewide offices. They said Hallman was a natural fit for the Treasurer’s Office, which they said plays a critical role in shaping the state’s fiscal future and promoting economic growth.
Peoria businessman Jeff DeWit and former Chandler City Councilman Martin Sepulveda have already filed to run for the GOP nomination in the state treasurer’s race, and former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen is also considering a run. No Democrats have declared their candidacy in the race.
Most political observers viewed Hallman’s gubernatorial campaign as a longshot in the large GOP field. Former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones, Sen. Al Melvin and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas have filed to run for governor while Secretary of State Ken Bennett and state Treasurer Doug Ducey have formed exploratory committees for the race. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Sen. Steve Pierce area considering gubernatorial runs as well.s