Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Arizona Treasurer Dean Martin, who had been considered the front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial primary when he entered the race, unexpectedly "suspended" his campaign on Friday. Arizona treasurer Dean Martin suspends bid for governor:
Martin, who announced his candidacy in January, was initially considered a front-runner for Arizona's highest elected office. He entered the race as Gov. Jan Brewer's campaign was floundering, with the incumbent battered by a rough first year that included a protracted budget battle with members of her own party.
That was before Jan Brewer discovered the secret to her success: being a demagogue on immigration.
Martin said Friday that he is suspending his campaign because he believes a contested primary will be a "distraction," given the state's ongoing budget and economic woes and the fact that the federal government has sued Arizona over its tough new immigration law.
He stopped short of endorsing Brewer but said he would support her in upcoming battles with the federal government.
"Our state and the residents of Arizona are more important than playing politics," Martin said in a statement.
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Martin's statement Friday stopped short of saying he would officially withdraw from the race, but its wording had an air of finality. In it, he thanked his supporters and volunteers.
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Martin's name will still appear on the Republican primary ballot, because many ballots, including those for Maricopa County, have already been printed, said Amy Bjelland, state elections director. Any votes he receives will be counted unless Martin notifies the Secretary of State's Office in writing that he is officially withdrawing, Bjelland said.
Officials also need to sort out what happens to the balance of Martin's Clean Elections funding.
By suspending his campaign but not officially withdrawing, Martin is allowed to use his public funding to pay off staff or other obligations, said Todd Lang, executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
But if he stops campaigning, he will be asked to return any outstanding monies, Lang said.