Here’s what the 3 GOP Maricopa County attorney candidates said about office priorities, election

Apr 19, 2022, 4:25 AM
From left, Republican Maricopa County attorney candidates Anni Foster, Gina Godbehere and Rachel Mi...
From left, Republican Maricopa County attorney candidates Anni Foster, Gina Godbehere and Rachel Mitchell. (Campaign Photos)
(Campaign Photos)

PHOENIX — Responses to questions posed to the three Republican candidates for the interim Maricopa County attorney position was released by the Board of Supervisors on Monday, covering topics like priorities for the office and the 2020 election.

Anni Foster, Gina Godbehere and Rachel Mitchell are interviewing for a chance to be the county attorney until the election this fall when voters will choose Allister Adel’s replacement. A Republican must be appointed to the position, per state law, and the three have turned in enough signatures to be on the ballot.

The questionnaire covered what would be the top priorities if appointed to the office, whether the Board of Supervisors made a mistake when certifying the 2020 election results and how the candidate would address staffing shortages in both the criminal and civil divisions.

The responses from Foster, Godbehere and Mitchell can be found online.

Each had similar answers on top priorities for the office, including rebuilding trust with the community and law enforcement, as well as changing culture and procedures.

Mitchell, a longtime Maricopa County prosecutor, said she would order a full review of charging processes and prosecutor caseloads, which she said have grown to be untenable in all divisions of the office.

“With this information, I will identify technology solutions and staffing assignments to ensure cases are being reviewed in a timely manner and prosecutors have more manageable caseloads,” Mitchell said.

Part of Adel’s tumultuous tenure before her resignation last month was the disclosure that nearly 200 cases had to be dropped because her office didn’t file charges on time.

Godbehere, a Goodyear city prosecutor, in her response to the questionnaire listed numerous concerns law enforcement has regarding the office.

“Within my first week, I will address the communication breakdown between the office and law enforcement and ensure that we are working together to identify and prosecute the most violent offenses in our community,” Godbehere said.

All three said the Board of Supervisors did not make a mistake certifying the 2020 election, with each pointing to the various reviews that found no evidence of fraud.

“The Board did not err in certifying the election,” Foster, general counsel for Gov. Doug Ducey, said in the questionnaire. “It fulfilled its statutory obligation following clear evidence that Biden received the most votes in the county.

“Since that time, countless audits and reviews have illustrated that the results certified by the Board were sound.”

Foster and Godbehere also mentioned the update Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich provided to Senate President Karen Fann last week on his office’s investigation into election procedures, with both candidates stating the letter did not provide evidence of widespread fraud or wrongdoing by the Board or county officers.

The three also offered various ways to solve the staffing issues, such as boosting recruiting efforts in law schools, having competitive salaries and being responsive to employee needs.

If one of the three candidates are picked for the appointment, she will be in the position leading up to the primary election on Aug. 2 and the general election on Nov. 8.

Whoever wins the Republican primary will take on Julie Gunnigle in the general election, the Democratic nominee in 2020 and the only from her party to file enough signatures to be on the ballot this year.

The winner of the general election will serve the remainder of Adel’s four-year term and be up for reelection again in 2024.

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Here’s what the 3 GOP Maricopa County attorney candidates said about office priorities, election