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State Rep. Montenegro eyes run for Arizona Secretary of State
State Rep. Steve Montenegro, whose district includes Yuma, is considering a run for Arizona Secretary of State.
The third-term Republican lawmaker announced that he'd formed an exploratory committee after receiving a letter last week from nearly 20 active Arizona conservatives urging him to throw his hat in the ring. The office comes up for election in 2014.
“I am honored to have the confidence of so many great leaders from around the state,” Montenegro said in a prepared statement. “When respected leaders of your community come together and ask you to consider serving a worthy cause, it is impossible not to answer their call. I appreciate their kind recognition of my voting record, and agree that our party faces challenges in communicating our message to every corner of our state. Our message of smaller government, greater personal freedom, and opportunity for all, remains a winning message and I look forward to sharing it with everyone across this great state.”
Yuma County Supervisor Russ Clark was among the supporters to sign the note. He added Monday that he became friendly with Montenegro and his family when Montenegro was campaigning last year for his seat in the newly created Legislative District 13.
He said Montenegro is instantly likeable and trustworthy.
“I think he's an exciting young conservative,” Clark said. “I like his moralistic outlook on life. He's a very solid Christian. He's one of those politicians that I look at as a statesman – that will shake your hand, look you in the eye and you know they're telling you the truth. I think he's not a guy that can be bought or swayed to vote against his core values and his core beliefs. I think he's a young man... that has a bright future. I think he would be good for all of us.”
In Arizona, the Secretary of State is first in the line of succession for the governorship. The office has a wide variety of additional duties, including administration of elections, filing bills from the Arizona Legislature, overseeing the official state repository of advance directives such as living wills, and registering trademarks and trade names.
The letter of support, endorsed by 18 conservatives from several counties, praises Montenegro's record in the state House as evidence that he is fit to succeed current Secretary of State Ken Bennett.
“What we need are the right messengers to take our message across Arizona and ultimately, working together, into every corner of this great nation,” it reads in part. “Towards that end, we are joining together to ask that you explore a campaign for Secretary of State of the great State of Arizona. As a conservative, you have a voting record second to none, which offers voters the assurance that you can be trusted to protect taxpayers and our Constitutional rights. You respect the rule of law and you can be trusted to be fair and impartial in that important office.”
The letter added that as a Latino Republican and legal immigrant (he came to the U.S. as a child from El Salvador), Montenegro has “the ability to take our message into every neighborhood in Arizona and connect with voters in a way that no other candidate can.”