POLITICS

Richard Carmona Declines To Enter Arizona Governor's Race, Opens Up Field For Other Candidates

03/18/2013 03:48 pm ET | Updated Mar 18, 2013

Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona's decision to not enter the Democratic field for Arizona governor in 2014 has caused the Democratic side in the race to open up, according to one potential candidate.

Carmona announced Monday morning that he would not seek the governorship, a race many had expected him to enter following his narrow loss for a U.S. Senate seat last year. The Arizona Capitol Times reported that Carmona has told media outlets in the state that he does not want to spend time away from his family to pursue the governorship. Carmona, who served in President George W. Bush's administration, had the potential to clear the Democratic field and was considered a top-tier gubernatorial candidate nationally.

Carmona's decision leaves former Clinton White House aide Fred Duval and Arizona state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) as the two most likely Democratic candidates. On the Republican side, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Treasurer Doug Ducey, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman are all likely candidates.

Campbell told The Huffington Post that he believes Carmona's decision has changed the Democratic field for governor.

"It opens the field up a lot now," he said.

Carmona lost to Sen. Jeff Flake (R) last year by three percentage points.

Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has not ruled out attempting to run again despite the state's term limits law. A former Brewer aide has suggested that Brewer does not fall under the two-term law since her first term was the completion of former Gov. Janet Napolitano's term, after Napolitano resigned to become homeland security secretary.

Duval spokesman Rodd McLeod declined to comment on his boss' reaction to Carmona's decision. Duval has been making moves towards a potential run, but has not announced his candidacy. Campbell -- and other sitting elected officials -- are prohibited under state law from announcing candidacies for another office unless they also resign their current office. The law allows them to continue in their current job if they declare their candidacy less than a year from the end of their current term.

Campbell said he does not have a timetable for announcing if he will enter the governor's race.

"I think we'll have a decision soon," he said. "My priority now is to get through the session. We have a budget to pass, and we have to pass this Medicaid expansion."

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