Arizona Democrat Aaron Lieberman drops out of gubernatorial race

The field of candidates vying to become Arizona's next governor has narrowed a bit.

On May 27, former State Rep. Aaron Lieberman released a statement, stating that he is suspending his race for governor.

Lieberman, a former state lawmaker from Paradise Valley, struggled to gain traction against the Democratic front-runner, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who has built a national profile as a staunch defender of Arizona’s election.

"I got into this race because I care deeply about the future of Arizona, and I believe I have the skills and experience needed to help make this great state even better as the next Governor," a portion of the statement reads. "While that confidence remains, it is clear to me that there’s just not a realistic path forward in this race this year, and I owe it to all the people who have so generously supported our campaign to be honest with them about what the path ahead would look like."

Lieberman was one of three Democratic candidates for governor

Lieberman founded two organizations focused on early childhood education before being elected to the Legislature in 2018. He’s developed a reputation as a moderate during two terms in the House. He resigned last year to focus on his campaign for governor.

In an announcement video released last summer, Lieberman presented himself as an entrepreneur and pragmatic problem solver.

"When we turn the page on this pandemic, let’s turn the page on our politics too," Lieberman said in the video.

More recently, he tried to jumpstart his campaign with a television ad proclaiming, "right now, Arizona’s politics are a dumpster fire."

Through the end of March, Lieberman reported raising just over $1.4 million for his campaign, trailing both Hobbs and the other Democrat in the race, former Nogales Mayor and Obama administration border official Marco Lopez.

Lieberman was one of three candidates for Governor in the Democratic primary, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's website. His decision to suspend his campaign means there are now only two Democratic gubernatorial candidates: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Former Nogales Governor Marco Lopez.

On the Republican side, there are six candidates for Governor, according to the Secretary of State's website. They are Kari Lake, Scott Neely, Matt Salmon, Karrin Taylor Robson, Paola "Z" Tulliani-Zen, and Patrick Finerd, who is listed a write-in candidate. Steve Gaynor is listed as having withdrawn from the race.

Only one candidate is listed on the Secretary of State's website as the Libertarian Party candidate for governor: Barry Hess.

The current Governor, Doug Ducey, is term-limited, and cannot seek re-election.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.