February 11, 2005


Surgeon General examines run for governor (Mike Sunnucks, 2/11/05, The Business Journal)

U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, the nation's top doctor, could be eyeing a run for Arizona governor next year.

Some top state Republicans see Carmona -- a registered independent appointed by President Bush in 2002 -- as a formidable challenger to Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano next year. Some GOP leaders are encouraging him to take on Napolitano.

Carmona certainly has a politically appealing résumé, serving as U.S. Surgeon General with previous experience as a medical school professor, trauma surgeon, U.S. Army Green Beret in Vietnam and SWAT team member in Pima County.

He's Hispanic and from Tucson, which hits right at two Democratic core constituencies.

"It's a rumor that is going around the political world," said Stan Barnes, a top Arizona business lobbyist and former state lawmaker.

Several other top business lobbyists and political operatives also tell The Business Journal that there is intense speculation about a possible Carmona run.

Republicans have made unseating Napolitano their top priority for 2006.

Both Bush brothers and John McCain would have obvious stakes in boosting a Latino candidate and in knocking off a highly touted national prospect for the Democrats.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2005 8:17 PM

It would be tough. Richard Carmona is practically unknown in local or state politics.

Posted by: Brandon at February 12, 2005 12:42 AM

The Arizona GOP is guilty of much of the cronyism that other one-party(usu. Democrats) systems have. The acquisition and housing of professional sports teams in Phoenix has been a spectacle of high-handed venal criminality that one associates with Jersey City or Chicago. Goldwater must be spinning in his grave.

Napolitano will be tough for someone beholden to the GOP apparat to beat. If Carmona can establish himself as a real alternative, not just to Napolitano but to the rank-and-file cheesy boodlers of the Arizona GOP, he has a shot. Otherwise, he's just Scott LeDoux.

Posted by: Bart at February 12, 2005 6:18 AM

The AZ field is starting to grow. Fife Symington is rumbling about running again (feeler reaction wasn't all that negative, even from the AZ Republic), Heyworth as well after finishing this term, and now Carmona. Napolitano is definitely in their sites.

Posted by: Tom Wall at February 12, 2005 10:41 AM

Isn't there something about felons not being able to hold state office that would keep Symington out?

Posted by: Bart at February 12, 2005 10:54 AM

Bart,his conviction was thrown out on appeal. He can run....but he can't hide. tw

Posted by: Tom Wall at February 12, 2005 12:41 PM