BY GRISELDA NEVAREZ
Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona has announced he will not run for governor of Arizona in 2014.
Carmona cites time away from family and friends during his bid for U.S. Senate last year as a main factor that led him to make the decision. His commitment to various work obligations also played a role.
“I’m not ready to say I’ll never do it again, but this time, it just isn’t the right time,” Carmona said in an interview with Phoenix television station KPNX.
Richard Carmona: ‘This isn’t the end of the road’
Carmona wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that though he won’t seek the governor’s seat being vacated by Gov. Jan Brewer, there’s still a possibility that he’ll run for public office in the future.
“After all the friends I’ve made and all the wonderful people I’ve met, I know this isn’t the end of the road,” he wrote. “I’m not ruling out seeking elected office in the future, but right now isn’t the right time for me or my family to embark on a campaign to become the next governor of Arizona.”
Carmona went on to say, “As you know, I’ve never aspired to be a politician—I’ve always believed in selfless service. I hope that’s what some of you took from our race last year: That the greatest calling in life is to serve others, in and out of public life, regardless of politics.”
Furthermore, he thanked those who helped with his run for Senate last year. The 63-year-old, who is of Puerto Rican descent, had been a registered independent for many years until President Barack Obama and other Democrats encouraged him to switch parties and run for the U.S. Senate in Arizona as a Democrat.
Carmona ultimately ran as the Democratic nominee in the tight Senate race, but he lost by three percentage points to Republican Jeff Flake last November to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). A victory for Carmona would’ve made him the first Latino to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate and the first Democrat to win that Senate seat in more than two decades.
Richard Carmona had a good shot at winning the governor’s seat
Supporters contend Carmona had a good shot at winning the governor’s race for various reasons, including his name recognition and his wide pool of potential donors who could’ve contributed to his campaign. They also argue he can appeal to a wide group of voters, including Latinos, independents and Republicans.
Political analysts saw Carmona as a frontrunner to represent the Democratic Party in the governor’s race. Now, Carmona’s decision to not run opens up the field for Democrats who seek the governorship.
Two Democrats who are exploring the possibility of running for the Arizona governor’s seat include Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) and Fred Duval, who served as secretary of the interior under President Bill Clinton.
Top contenders on the Republican side include Secretary of State Ken Bennett, State Treasurer Doug Ducey, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.