File - Marco Lopez

Marco Lopez

(The Center Square) – A former mayor and U.S. Customs and Border Protection official under former President Barack Obama has become the first to enter the 2022 race for Arizona governor. 

Marco Lopez announced his candidacy Tuesday for the state’s top executive office in a Spanish and English video.

“I’m running for governor because I believe in the promise of Arizona – that Arizona is a place where anything is possible and every family has the chance to succeed, no matter who you are or where you come from,” Lopez said in a news release.

Lopez's website touts his government experience and credentials, striking a centrist tone on border safety.

“His deep understanding of economic development, international trade, and border security paired with his ability to bring people together to solve problems is exactly what Arizona needs,” the website reads.

Other potential Democratic candidates include Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton. None has announced.

With Ducey having served the maximum two terms, he’s no longer eligible for office. Potential Republican candidates for governor include Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Treasurer Kimberly Yee, former Ducey staffer Kirk Adams and others.

The 42-year-old Lopez has a long political history considering his age. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Lopez was elected mayor of the border town of Nogales and served from 2001 to 2003. 

Lopez was hired by former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as an adviser in 2007 and followed her to Washington when she was appointed to lead Obama’s Department of Homeland Security. Lopez served as chief of staff for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection under Napolitano until 2011. 

He then went to work for Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, one of the wealthiest men on the planet. According to his LinkedIn profile, Lopez still works as an adviser to Slim and runs Intermestic Partners, a business advisory firm.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.