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Bolding running for Arizona secretary of state, will face Fontes in Dem primary

House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding is running for Arizona secretary of state, setting up a Democratic primary battle against former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

Bolding, a Phoenix Democrat, announced his candidacy on Monday, touting his record of fighting restrictive GOP voting bills in the legislature, pushing for education funding and promoting criminal justice reform.

“Standing up for voting rights and your access to the ballot isn’t new to me. I’ve been on the front line fighting for our democracy for years and I look forward to continuing that work as Secretary of State,” Bolding said in a press release announcing his campaign.

Bolding’s press statement and his announcement video focus heavily on Senate Bill 1485, which Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law last month. The new law requires county election officials to remove voters from the state’s early voting list if they don’t use their early ballots for two consecutive election cycles.

“As Secretary of State, I want to make sure that elections are secure without interference from anyone. Arizonans have led the nation in voting from home in safe and secure ways and we can’t let a small group of partisan lawmakers take away our freedom to vote,” Bolding said. “Democrats and Republicans both agree we need to come back to common sense solutions to solve problems. Limiting democracy can’t be that solution.”

Bolding also said he “led the charge” in defeating Senate Bill 1713, which would have required voters to include their driver’s license or voter identification numbers on their early ballots. The bill passed out of the Senate but has languished in the House, where it lacks enough Republican support to pass.

A four-term lawmaker who was first elected to the House in 2014, Bolding serves as co-executive director for two nonprofit organizations, Arizona Coalition for Change and Our Voice, Our Vote Arizona.

Bolding is the first Democrat to formally enter the race for secretary of state, but Fontes has signalled his intentions, announcing in a video he posted on Twitter on Friday that he’s preparing to run as well.

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“We’re in a major crossroads in our nation and in our state. Arizona needs public officials who are going to be ready to do the job on day one. I’m getting ready to run for Arizona secretary of state. Are you with me?” Fontes said.

On the side, Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who sponsored SB1485, is running for secretary of state, as is Rep. Mark Finchem.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix.


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