Yesterday, Arizona Democrats nominated David Garcia to run for governor. Garcia is a left-wing candidate, but a reasonably attractive one. He’s the Democrats’ highest-performing statewide candidate of the last 12 years, having almost won his 2014 race for state superintendent. And he is Latino.
Incumbent Doug Ducey will be favored to defeat him, but can’t take the race for granted.
This raises the stakes in Ducey’s selection of a replacement for John McCain. Ducey will want to appoint a reliable conservative to keep the base and the president happy, but he will also want to appoint someone who, although not running in 2018, will add value to the governor’s reelection campaign by broadening his appeal.
Selecting Cindy McCain seems problematic. On the one hand, there’s a huge amount of good will towards the McCain family just now. On the other hand, her appointment might not sit well with the conservative base.
I don’t know enough about Arizona politics to have a firm opinion on who, among the potential successors to John McCain, would maximize Ducey’s reelection chances. However, Judge John Lopez, whom I wrote about here, is both a strong conservative and a Latino. The former fact should satisfy the base. The latter fact might broader the appeal of Ducey’s campaign.