An Arizona cotton farmer and lawyer says she is running for attorney general because she is fed up waiting for the federal and state governments to boost security at the southern border.
Tiffany Shedd is a mother of three whose family’s fourth-generation property sits in the middle of a Mexican cartel’s drug and human smuggling route between Phoenix and Tucson, more than an hour north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite the distance from the international boundary, her family has become accustomed to the regular run-ins with the Mexican cartels as they move people and drugs into the United States.
“We’ve been dealing with the border issue for decades. The first big thing hit our family around 2004. When people steal your car, and you have to be evacuated by the police because you’ve got death threats, it sort of wakes you up,” Shedd said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “Our neighbor was murdered. My friend Rob Krentz was murdered. And it makes the news. A lot of us in the community are really, really frustrated because it feels like it’s a political issue at times, and nothing gets done, and you get forgotten.”
Shedd said she never thought about getting into politics until a few years ago, when she became “fed up.” She ran for Congress in 2018 and lost in the primary but went on to win the nomination in 2020, only to lose to Tom O’Halleran, a Democrat, by 3 points. Former President Donald Trump had endorsed Shedd as someone who “never lets people down, and she’s got the right values.”
But Shedd said she is glad she lost in 2020 because she realized she could have a greater impact on border security as attorney general than a first-term lawmaker.
Shedd is in a crowded race with two Democrats and six other Republicans vying for the job, following Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s decision to run for Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s seat.
Republicans have made border security front and center in their race. One contender, Lacy Cooper, was an assistant U.S. attorney who handled the Border Patrol portfolio and whose campaign website states that the border is not secure. Rodney Glassman is a lawyer and former Democrat with experience on the Tucson city council. Businesswoman and lawyer Dawn Grove, former Maricopa County prosecutor Abraham Hamadeh, and former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould are also running for the Republican nomination.
What might separate Shedd from the other half-dozen Republicans vying for the nomination Aug. 2 is her personal stake in the race.
“You hear, ‘Oh, these poor people, we need to give them money for psychological trauma,’” Shedd said, referring to a report in 2021 that the Biden administration was considering payments of $450,000 per person to families separated at the border by the Trump administration. “What about our families, our kids, that had to grow up with this?”
Shedd said if nominated and elected, she would take a two-pronged approach to addressing the federal government’s failures at the border as well as its overreach on other issues. She would push state legislators to propose tougher laws that target the Mexican criminal organizations behind human and drug smuggling while also challenging the federal government in legal action.
“The only purpose of Arizona government, according to our constitution, is to maintain and protect individual liberties. That’s it. Run everything through that lens,” Shedd said. “It really changes how you look at the office, and I think we’ve lost sight of that.”
Brnovich concluded this past week that Shedd’s recommendation that Arizona declare the cartels a foreign enemy and “engage in war” at the border was a viable option. However, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey declined to follow through.
“I don’t know that everyone else’s motivation is as strong as mine. I don’t think people don’t care about it, but it’s just really, really personal. This is going to stop. You’re ruining family’s lives and Arizonans lives,” Shedd said.