Arizona rep Andrade doesn’t approve of Hobbs, switches to Lopez

Jeremy Duda

Arizona Mirror

Rep. Richard Andrade has withdrawn his support for Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ favorite for her role in the firing of former Senate staffer Talonya Adams and is now backing Marco Lopez, one of his primary election rivals.

Andrade, D-Glendale, announced Friday that he endorses Lopez. The Lopez campaign said Andrade is the first elected official to transfer his endorsement from Hobbs to him. Hobbs announced Andrade’s endorsement last summer, about a month after entering the gubernatorial race.

In a joint statement delivered to the Arizona Mirror, Andrade and Rep. Melody Hernandez, a Democrat from Tempe who backed Lopez last month, said they were initially excited to back Hobbs in the gubernatorial race. But in recent months they said they had lost faith in his ability to lead the state.

They specifically cited Hobbs’ responsibility for Adams’ 2015 firing. Adams was a staffer under Hobbs, who at the time was the Senate Minority Leader. A federal jury in 2019 found that Adams, a black woman, was underpaid because of her race and gender — pay for staff is determined by Republican leaders — and a second jury last year found that she had been fired for complaining about this discrimination. Both verdicts were against the Senate as a whole, not against Hobbs.

After the verdict, Hobbs initially defended the dismissal, saying race and gender were not factors in the decision. She has since acknowledged that the discrimination took place and issued a public apology to Adams.

“As people of color and as members of unions, we care deeply about standing up for working families and representing those who too often have no voice in politics,” Andrade and Hernandez said. .

Given Hobbs’ role in firing Adams, the continued fallout from the two federal verdicts and what they said were growing concerns among voters about Hobbs’ ability to lead as governor, Andrade and Hernandez said, “We could no longer in good conscience support someone with their case.

Andrade and Hernandez said Lopez “understands the complexities of being a person of color in this state” and led Arizona “towards a more prosperous and inclusive future” from a young age in various roles.

“Over the past several months, it has become clear that Marco can build the broad coalition we need to win in November, and has what it takes to build a better future for all Arizonans, Andrade said in a statement. statement released by the Lopez campaign.

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