By KATYA SCHWENK | Phoenix New Times
The race to become Maricopa County’s next top prosecutor, just weeks in, is beginning to heat up. And not in a good way.
On May 11, interim Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell — currently the Republican frontrunner for the vacated seat — sent out an email to supporters, urgently seeking donations.
“George Soros is at it again!” read the subject line.
The message marked a shift in the tone of the county attorney’s race — which will determine who steers the powerful Maricopa County Attorney’s Office out of troubled waters.
In November 2020, when the last election for the job took place, the Republican and Democratic candidates — Allister Adel and Julie Gunnigle, respectively — ran on a platform of reform. Despite distinct approaches, both promised to take a second look at some policies deemed harsh and defining.
If her initial campaign messaging is any indication, Mitchell seemingly is taking a different tack. She presented herself initially as a reasonable, no-nonsense, conservative. It took only a few weeks for her to begin railing about Soros, a bogeyman for the tough-on-crime right.
“Soros and his daughter are behind efforts to ‘Defund the Police’ and are trying to undermine our criminal justice system at every turn,” she wrote in the May 11 email that sought donations. This had resulted in a “crime surge across the United States.”
If she were not elected, Mitchell implied, this surge would arrive in Maricopa County: “Can I count on your support to help fight off the Soros machine?”
Mitchell’s campaign explained the email in a statement to Phoenix New Times.