Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell has called on Bennett to resign either his position with the Romney campaign OR as Secretary of State.
The current overlap of Bennett's responsibilities hearkens back to the 2000 Presidential campaign when Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris figured prominently in the George W Bush's campaign. That year, Florida ended up being the fulcrum on which the US Supreme Court's decision to award the Presidency to Bush tilted. Not coincidentally, Harris won a seat in Congress in 2002.
If ever there was an opportunity to learn the lesson of history BEFORE it repeats, this seems to be just that.
So, I will echo Campbell's call for Bennett to resign one or the other position.
And if Bennett will NOT heed the voice of the people, we must raise our voice on this issue.
Former Arizona Senate President Bennett has already signaled his intent to run for governor in 2014. Amy Chan, state elections director, who reports to Bennett in her official capacity, acknowledged to the Arizona Eagletarian that Bennett has indeed begun collecting nominating petition signatures in that quest.
A couple of individuals recently called my attention to this issue because of Arizona's "Resign-to-Run" law. That law states:
Except during the final year of the term being served, no incumbent of a salaried elective office, whether holding by election or appointment, may offer himself for nomination or election to any salaried local, state or federal office.According to Ballotpedia, five states currently have resign-to-run laws on the books, Arizona being one of the five.
In 2009, several incumbent Arizona elected officials had signaled intent to run for other offices in 2010. Arizona Democratic Party executive director Luis Heredia filed a complaint against John Huppenthal, then a state senator, because he had begun collecting nominating petition signatures before reaching the one year mark prior to when he was then just "exploring" a run for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Because a similar allegation had been leveled at Attorney General Terry Goddard (who ran for governor in 2010), he declared a conflict of interest and referred the complaint to Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall. LaWall issued a 9-page opinion declaring none of the candidates in question had violated Arizona law.
The Arizona Republic, in 2009, quoted former assistant Atty Gen Lisa Hauser on the issue, "Hauser said the law has enough ambiguities to make prosecution difficult."
After designating an exploratory committee, a candidate may lawfully collect signatures on nominating petition and receive contributions.
A friend and reader mentioned concern that there has been little to no mention of the connection between Mitt Romney the MORMON Republican presidential candidate and Ken Bennett the MORMON Republican Arizona Secretary of State, in news coverage of Bennett's birther related misadventures. He's (my friend) correct.
There's no denying that there is a very strong presence in Arizona government by Mormon Republicans. How can we not be concerned for the integrity of this year's presidential race in our state with Bennett having such a strong connection and influence over the process?
I don't have the answer. But we all should be thinking and asking about it. And getting Ken Bennett to make a decision about who he will serve this year.