Aaron Lieberman

Aaron Lieberman

Longshot Democratic gubernatorial candidate Aaron Lieberman called off his campaign Friday afternoon May 27. Lieberman was the only Jewish candidate left on the ballot running for governor. Steve Gaynor, who is also Jewish, dropped out of the race for governor on April 28.

Lieberman, a former state legislator, was always given little chance of winning a primary contest against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez. And after burning through most of the little cash he was able to raise on a television ad, his campaign fizzled out. 

Lieberman trailed both Hobbs and Lopez in fundraising during the last quarter, and was left with $767,000 after April. He spent $500,000 on a last-ditch attempt for attention with his “dumpster fire” ad that took aim at both Hobbs and Republican candidate Kari Lake. But the ad included his campaign’s logo on the dumpster that was on fire, turning the ad into more of a punchline than an effective message to garner support. 

“I got into this race because I care deeply about the future of Arizona and I believe I have the skills and the experience needed to help make this great state even better as the next governor,” Lieberman said in a press release announcing the end of his campaign. He added that, while he no longer sees a path for himself to win, he will do whatever he can to make sure a Democrat will be on the Ninth Floor next year.

“Ensuring that Kari Lake gets nowhere near the governor’s office will be a top priority of mine over the next few months,” Lieberman said.

Both Hobbs and Lopez thanked him for his participation in the race.

“I want to thank @aaron4az for his participation in this primary campaign and his service to our state as a legislator. I look forward to the fight ahead 一 as we all come together and stand up to those who are threatening our basic freedoms in Arizona,” Hobbs tweeted.

Lopez tweeted, “Aaron has been adamant that we need a governor who puts education and our working families first; one who’s not afraid to speak directly to the voters and speak out against hate and discrimination.” 

Lieberman resigned from the state legislature last year after serving just three years in the House of Representatives representing areas in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. 

He dropped out with roughly two months to go before the Aug. 2 primary. Early voting begins on July 6 and independents and non-party affiliated voters must request either a Democratic or Republican ballot in order to participate in the primary election. JN