PHOENIX – Early primary election returns for the Arizona secretary of state race showed Republican Steve Gaynor with a healthy lead over incumbent Michele Reagan.
If the early returns hold, Gaynor will face Katie Hobbs, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the general election Nov. 6.
Soon after results were released, Gaynor tweeted: “Friends, tonight has been a proud and humbling experience. Thank you for making me your nominee for Arizona Secretary of State. You have entrusted me with the task of fixing the #AZSOS office and I will not let you down. On to November 6th! #AZPrimary.”
The secretary of state serves as Arizona’s chief election officer and is first in line to succeed the governor if the governor is unable to complete her or his term.
Voters elected Reagan secretary of state in 2014 after she served in both the state House of Representatives and Senate.
Controversy swirled throughout her tenure. Reagan was criticized in May 2016 for Maricopa County’s long lines in the presidential preference election. Reagan’s office also failed to send voter information pamphlets to about 200,000 households prior to a special election – a violation of state law, according to azcentral.com.
Gaynor also criticized Reagan for settling a federal lawsuit involving Arizona’s two-tier voter ID process, saying her office should have fought the suit because Arizona voters had approved the process to prevent fraudulent voting.
In Tuesday’s midterm primaries, technical problems prevented people from voting at more than 60 polling places in Maricopa County, according to county officials. This came after assurances from Reagan’s office that Maricopa County and state authorities had completed accuracy tests on all of Arizona’s voting machines and systems.
Gaynor has a background in business and owns a printing plant in Los Angeles. He criticized Reagan on his campaign website.
“The performance of the office during the last 3½ years has been unacceptable,” the site reads. “There have been repeated, serious errors that constitute a pattern of failure.”
Hobbs is a former social worker and Arizona state legislator who has run on a platform of ending long lines and other missteps that prevent Arizonans from casting their votes.
Find full election results at the secretary of state’s website.
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