PHOENIX (AP) — A former executive for GoDaddy who is touting her conservative credentials filed nominating petitions Tuesday to enter the Republican primary for Arizona governor.
Christine Jones, a former legal counsel for the website hosting company, submitted her paperwork on the opening day of the regular filing period for the August primary.
Jones is running without public funding and called herself an "unapologetic conservative" who will fight for gun rights, border security, and to eliminate federal intrusion into school policy.
"Let's encourage job growth by getting the government out of the way. Let's strive for excellence in education by applying Arizona standards, not federal standards. And importantly, let's enforce immigration law with no amnesty," she said at a news conference at the Capitol. "If you stand up to the federal government ... you can actually make a difference."
Jones' position on new education standards known as Common Core should resonate with conservatives who believe the state-developed standards are driven by the federal government. They are, however, strongly supported by the state Education Department, the business community and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.
Jones is already airing television ads in the Phoenix area and appears prepared to spend millions in the race that features a crowded field of other Republicans, most also running as conservatives. Other announced Republican candidates include former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, state Treasurer Doug Ducey, state Sen. Al Melvin, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and former California congressman Frank Riggs. Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett was able to file for the GOP governor's primary on April 10 because he gathered enough signatures and $5 contributions to qualify for public campaign funding. Melvin and Thomas also plan to run using public funding.
Fred DuVal is only well-known Democratic candidate, and Libertarian Barry Hess also plans to run.
Jones has already been targeted by an outside group for her contention that she worked as a prosecutor in Los Angeles. Jones produced an LA County district attorney's identity card that identified her as a volunteer law clerk. She said she volunteered as a prosecutor while attending law school and prosecuted misdemeanor and felony cases.
Jones, 45, joined GoDaddy as the company's in-house counsel in 2002, when the Internet domain company had only a few dozen employees. She left the company after the 2011 sale of its parent company, Go Daddy Group Inc., to private investment groups for $2.25 billion but continues to be an investor and consultant for the Scottsdale-based firm.
She said Monday she's running as an outsider with broad business experience who has testified before Congress and is a strong supporter of gun rights.
"You are ready for a leader that is not a career politician, someone who will lead with no strings attached," she told supporters. "I am an unapologetic conservative, I am a fierce defender of the Constitution, and as your governor, I assure you I will lead with untethered ideas."