Vernon Parker, Mayor of Paradise Valley, AZ, is likely to announce tonight that he is running for Governor. Thus he will be the first major Republican in Arizona to jump into a race against incumbent Republican Governor Jan Brewer.
So now it gets interesting. With Parker’s entrance into the race, the line has been crossed – that is, he is the first to make a move sending the signal that he isn’t waiting to see whether Brewer decides to run for re-election or not. Watch for others to follow suit.
Parker is a solid guy. The question is whether he’s ready for prime time. When the Arizona Republic wrote about him considering a run last month, half the story was about alleged legal issues.
He will have the novelty factor in that, at this point, he is the only African-American Republican in the nation running for a Governor’s seat and if he won, he’d be the first African-American Republican Governor in history. He will also immediately begin to be compared to Obama.
I suspect that this could end up being a crowded Republican primary race. Besides Parker, others reportedly mulling include Secretary of State Ken Bennett, State Treasurer Dean Martin, former Governor Fife Symington, Tucson attorney John Munger, former US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, among others. With a multi-candidate race, who knows what could happen.
One thing is for certain: Jan Brewer has a target on her.