Bipartisan Coalition of Arizona Leaders Unite in Support of Core Democratic Principles

Arizona Press Release

Today, democracyFIRST announced that a diverse coalition of Republican and Democratic former elected officials and business leaders proudly announced their commitment to the democracyFIRST Promise campaign. They join over 200 like-minded individuals across 130 congressional, state, and local districts in presidential battleground states, united in safeguarding the future of free and fair elections in America. 

The bipartisan democracyFIRST PROMISE campaign aims to restore the standards, expectations, and norms for elected officials and candidates seeking positions that directly impact our elections, including overseeing the administration and certification of elections. The Promise is centered on four pro-democracy principles:

1. Support every eligible American citizen’s right to vote in free and fair elections.

2. Denounce political violence against opponents, their supporters, and election workers.

3. Don’t propagate falsehoods and misinformation about the electoral process.

4. Accept and certify the final election outcome after all the votes are counted and support the peaceful transfer of power.

Voters across the ideological spectrum overwhelmingly support these four core pro-democracy principles. A pre-election survey shows that voters by a 50-point margin said they could never support a candidate who disagreed with the Promise, 75% – 25%. 

“As members of this coalition, we are dedicated to ensuring that our state, including Arizona elected leaders and election officials, remains committed to upholding democracy and the rule of law,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates. “We come together from various backgrounds and political affiliations, united in our resolve to safeguard the integrity and transparency of our democratic processes.” 

“This coalition represents a powerful collaboration across party lines to enhance and protect the democratic values we all cherish,” commented Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes. “Our goal is to foster a political environment that encourages accountability and engagement, which are crucial for the health of our democracy.”

The following leaders offered these quotes about why they joined the coalition:

John Giles, Mayor of Mesa

“I always thought the extremism of the last few election cycles was like a pendulum and we’d swing back to the middle at some point, but there’s no sign that that’s happening. So silence is not an option. Silence is acquiescence. I believe in the core principles of democracy and that our free and fair elections must be preserved.”

Matt Orlando, Chandler City Councilmember and Retired Senior Military Officer 

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent – now more than ever we must come together to defend the principles that define our nation and ensure a future for Arizona where free and fair elections thrive.”

Stephen Richer, Maricopa County Recorder 

“We, as a collective, are stronger together. It is not only possible but crucial to set aside our differences in the name of free and fair elections. While we may not agree on every issue, there is a shared understanding that American democracy is paramount and must be defended by all of us.” 

Justin Wilmeth, State Representative (District 2)

 “As champions of democracy, we must defend the integrity of our elections at all costs. It’s a duty we owe to ourselves, to future generations, and to the democratic principles upon which our nation was founded.”

Corey Woods, Mayor of Tempe 

“Arizona’s elections are conducted with fairness, and I have complete trust in the accuracy of the results. Our state has a strong track record of maintaining transparent and accessible election processes. As we move forward, let’s continue to uphold these principles, ensuring every Arizonan’s voice is heard and valued.”

Sean Bowie, Former State Senator 

“I have always believed that democracy works best when we put our differences aside and work together. I’ve fought to protect and preserve these democratic ideals, and I will continue to uphold these values while working to inspire the next generation of leaders. Arizona’s future depends on our commitment to collaboration, compromise, and respect for the rule of law.” 

Heather Carter, Former State Senator 

“Arizona’s economic well-being is intertwined with our candidates and officials’ ability to uphold democratic principles. When we prioritize unity and respect for democratic norms, we lay the foundation for businesses to flourish, communities to thrive, and our state to prosper.”

Chris Herstam, Former State Representative 

“As a former legislator and long-time advocate for effective governance, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of upholding our democratic values. Arizona’s success depends on our ability to work together across party lines, respect election outcomes, and prioritize the needs of all citizens.” 

Jennifer Longdon, Former State Representative 

“As the first Arizonan Democrat in 60 years to chair a bi-partisan ad hoc committee under a Republican majority, I believe it is a testament to what can happen when all parties come together for the greater good – in this was on preventing abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults in long-term care facilities. When we prioritize progress over politics, we can truly make a difference that impacts the lives of all Arizonans.”

Robert Meza, Former State Senator and Representative 

“Having dedicated two decades to public service in Arizona, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of our democracy to drive positive change. As elected officials, it’s our responsibility to champion inclusivity and representation, ensuring that every voice is heard and every community is fairly represented in our democratic processes.”

Clint Smith, Former Independent Candidate for U.S. Representative

“​​​​Instead of pointing fingers, let’s prioritize finding solutions. If we work at it, we can find common ground to make headway. It’s through collaboration and mutual understanding that we can truly make progress. That’s what the democracyFirst Promise is all about.”

democracyFirst has already made its mark in Pennsylvania ahead of the November 2023 Municipal Elections. Notably, in the most electorally competitive counties, a significant majority of candidates who committed to the promise won their election, a testament to the power of our shared principles. 

Dangerous anti-democracy rhetoric has significantly weakened confidence – here and worldwide – in the values, processes, and institutions that keep our nation prosperous and safe. In 2024, candidates for public office must commit to restoring faith and preserving our constitutional republic, no matter their ideological differences.

For media inquiries or to schedule interviews with coalition members, please contact Tim Mulvey at [email protected].

For more information about the Arizona coalition and the democracyFirst promise, please visit