Despite it being the closest thing Arizona has to a Lieutenant Governor, being Secretary of State is not the easiest path to be elected Governor.
You’d have to go back to Sidney Osborn, our state’s first Secretary of State, to find the last guy to do it. It took him twenty-two years and four tries after he’d left the office to finally be elected Governor.
He’s the only one, actually. Few have even tried to run for Governor or any other office. Dick Mahoney was the last Secretary of State to make a try at higher office in 1994, but lost a Democratic primary for US Senate by a scant eleven votes.
In recent years, a Secretary of State has more of a chance of becoming Governor if someone is appointed Ambassador to Argentina or gets convicted of real estate fraud than actually being elected.
It may be because of the nature of the job. Unlike an Attorney General, there isn’t a lot of room to engage in whatever policy disputes are in vogue. Run as competent an office as you want, but the fact that you opened a walk-up center in some far off corner of Graham County is not going to get much notice from primary voters.
I give you all of that not just because I want to impress you with my award winning knowledge of Arizona’s political history, but to tell you why I’m a bit suspicious about Ken Bennett’s continued efforts to keep the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative off the ballot. Methinks it’s more about Bennett’s future ambitions than the any concern about “setting a precedent.”
Bennett announced yesterday afternoon that he will appeal a court decision that ordered that the initiative be placed on the ballot. I had a difficult time remembering when the last time a Secretary of State was the plaintiff in a law suit to keep something off the ballot. I called a couple of long time political observers who couldn’t think of a time either. At best it is a rare move.
If the way the petitions were filed is a problem, where is an anti-tax group to make the challenge? Why is Bennett the lead guy on this?
Coupled with Bennett’s odd (and he admits regrettable) foray in to the birther wilderness, I really have to wonder if he sees this as a way to excite primary voters. He is currently couching this in terms of legalities because he’s got to, but let’s see what he’s saying next year. Will he be talking about how he kept a tax increase off the ballot?
He’s got to get attention somehow.
NB: I know that it’s not a tax increase, but we know how this rhetoric goes. It is not only a tax hike, but the biggest in history…