This week, Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs released an ad touting her new “tough on border security” policy position. The ad was immediately met with surprise and disbelief, due to Hobbs’ pivot to an issue she has largely ignored in the past, and to the two sheriffs she chose to feature.
Hobbs’ 30-second spot features fellow Democrats Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway and Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos. Both sheriffs are known for their open-borders positions.
In fact, when Nanos was running for the Sheriff’s Office position in 2020, he promised to reject the much-needed federal border security funds through Operation Stonegarden. Operation Stonegarden, a federal grant program used for immigration enforcement, currently provides funding for public safety efforts in both Cochise and Pinal counties which, like Santa Cruz and Pima, are key avenues for the cartel’s drug mules.
Nanos went even further, vowing during that race to work with open border groups, marginalized communities, and become “an active participant in discussions on how to mend relationships between law enforcement and community members.”
In the ad, Hobbs and the two sheriffs are seen walking along the southern border.
At one point, Nanos, who is well known for politicizing the border, says, “She’s not here to politicize our border. Katie Hobbs has a plan and solutions.”
Both Hobbs and her Republican challenger, Kari Lake, have pivoted away from some of their primary positions, but Hobbs’ pivot on the border is the most dramatic change. Earlier this year, when asked about the Biden administration’s decision to end a pandemic policy that was expected to open the borders even wider, Hobbs said that it was the right decision.
“Katie Hobbs has openly opposed filling the border wall gaps and supported ending Title 42, which makes our jobs harder and puts us in the line of fire,” said Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb who, like Nanos, has featured border policies in his own campaigns, albeit from a conservative “secure the border” position. “We cannot afford a Governor who will do nothing to stop the unprecedented human trafficking and drug trafficking at our southern border…Kari Lake is the only candidate for governor that can help law enforcement protect Arizona.”
On Wednesday, when asked about Hobbs’ ad, former Governor Jan Brewer, who has portrayed herself as a border security hawk, laughed out loud in a radio interview.
“Oh I don’t think that’s what Katie Hobbs is going to do,” said Brewer in response to Sheriff Hathaway’s claim that Hobbs will secure the border. “I don’t. She’s been out there in the public for many, many years – a public face because she was an elected official and she is not able to pivot as easy as people who don’t have records. Katie has supported open borders ever since was in the Legislature. So good for Katie Hobbs if she’ll do that, but I don’t believe her.”
State Representative David Cook, who served with Hobbs in the Legislature, agreed. “While Republicans were trying to secure the border and stop illegal immigration, Katie Hobbs and her friends were actively opposing us, attacking us as hateful bigots, and doing everything they could to crank the border as wide open as possible. This is nothing more than another Arizona Democrat running statewide, and pretending to care about fixing a problem they helped create.”
We need less talk and more action when it comes to securing the border. My highest priority is keeping Arizona communities safe which is why law enforcement like Sheriff Hathaway and Sheriff Nanos are backing my campaign. Watch here👇 pic.twitter.com/4IpFuUJgND
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) August 31, 2022