2 top aides for Gov. Doug Ducey leaving for new jobs, replacement announced

Aug 5, 2021, 5:00 PM | Updated: Aug 12, 2021, 9:55 am
Left: Daniel Scarpinato, Right: Gretchen Conger (Courtesy photos/Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's office)...
Left: Daniel Scarpinato, Right: Gretchen Conger (Courtesy photos/Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's office)
(Courtesy photos/Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's office)

PHOENIX — Two top aides for Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey are leaving for new jobs, the governor’s office announced Thursday.

Chief of Staff Daniel Scarpinato was named as a partner at Ascent Media, a national full-service advertising and political consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., and Denver, Colorado, while Deputy Chief of Staff Gretchen Conger will now serve as senior advisor to the Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaign for governor in Arkansas.

Ducey announced Daniel Ruiz, the state’s chief operating officer, will take over for Scarpinato as the governor’s top aide and lead his staff as well as coordinate Ducey’s agenda.

Ruiz will work alongside the current chief of staff until Scarpinato transitions out of the role by the end of August.

Scarpinato has been with Ducey for most of his term as the state’s top political official, joining the governor’s transition team just days after the 2014 election when Ducey beat Democratic challenger Fred DuVal to take over for the term-limited Jan Brewer.

“Daniel has been a trusted and important part of my team since the beginning,” Ducey said in a press release. “His leadership of our team through challenge after challenge has been critical to our success.

“I am beyond thankful for his dedication and service from our 2014 transition to my re-election, through COVID and the completion of our most successful legislative session to date. While Daniel is moving on, he will remain a close friend and advisor to our team.”

(UPDATE: On Aug. 12, Ducey appointed Sarah Rose Pirzada to fill the chief operating officer position.)

Conger advised Ducey in his 2014 campaign and joined the administration in 2015. She served as director of legislative affairs before being elevated to deputy chief of staff in 2016.

Ruiz has been a member of the governor’s team since 2015 and before serving as the state’s chief operating officer was Ducey’s director of media affairs until 2018, overseeing internal and external communications at all state agencies and managing all the state’s public information officers.

“Daniel Ruiz’s leadership has been key to our success since almost the very beginning of my administration,” Ducey said in a press release.

“Daniel has been involved in nearly every issue we have tackled. Whether it’s operations, strategy, policy, messaging or crisis management, Daniel has been a rock our team has relied on to guide us through challenges and opportunities. Daniel is a public servant who brings people together, solves problems and dedicates himself to the work at hand. I am thrilled to name him Chief of Staff.”

Ducey is finishing up his final term as the state’s governor after being re-elected in 2018 and can’t run for re-election in 2022 due to term limits.

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2 top aides for Gov. Doug Ducey leaving for new jobs, replacement announced