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Buz Mills drops out of gov race, clears way for Brewer
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Buz Mills drops out of gov race, clears way for Brewer

And then there was one.

Buz Mills dropped out of the Republican gubernatorial primary race today, saying that SB 1070 has sidetracked his campaign message.

Mills had sunk more than $3 million into his campaign.

With the Prescott-area businessman leaving the race, Gov. Jan Brewer stands to take the GOP nomination for reelection nearly uncontested. Newcomer Matt Jette remains in the Republican race, but has trailed badly in the polls.

The Republican nominee will face the Democratic candidate, state Attorney General Terry Goddard, in November's election.

"SB 1070 has regrettably taken the focus off of job creation and fixing the state budget," Mills said in a statement. "So even though the chasm between Brewer's policies and mine is dramatic, SB1070 has politically mitigated those issues."

"My goal was to offer a clear alternative to career politicians who were running on higher taxes and more spending," he said in a dig at Brewer, who supported the Proposition 100 temporary sales tax increase for education.

That measure won at the polls by a landslide, with 64 percent of voters approving the bump.

"Under normal circumstance, strong fiscal conservatives do well in Republican primary contests. I liked my chances," Mills wrote. "Unfortunately these aren't normal circumstances."

At the beginning of the year, Brewer - who gained her post when former Gov. Janet Napolitano resigned to take the job as head of Homeland Security - was seen as vulnerable. Besides Mills and Martin, Tucson attorney John Munger joined the line to take on the incumbent.

Brewer was in a three-way tie with Mills and Martin among Republican voters in March.

Munger, trailing in the polls, dropped out of the race in June.

State Treasurer Dean Martin dropped out of the race on Friday.

A rumored run by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio didn't materialize, and Brewer's tack to the right on immigration and SB 1070 buoyed her with conservatives irked by her support of the Proposition 100 sales tax increase.

Arizona's primary election is Aug. 24.

Mills' statement

Mills suspends campaign

Will remain active in conservative politics

I entered the race for governor because the solutions being proposed to solve the state budget and economic crisis were grossly misguided. Higher taxes, unsustainable spending, and more debt will continue to depress job creation in Arizona and delay a recovery. There is no doubt in my mind that fiscal and economic issues are the most important issues facing Arizonans.

My goal was to offer a clear alternative to career politicians who were running on higher taxes and more spending. Under normal circumstances strong fiscal conservatives do well in Republican primary contests. I liked my chances. Unfortunately, these aren't normal circumstances.

SB1070 has regrettably taken the focus off of job creation and fixing the state budget. So even though the chasm between Brewer's policies and mine is dramatic, SB1070 has politically mitigated those issues. I have therefore decided to suspend the campaign.

I cannot express enough my heartfelt gratitude to all of those who supported my campaign. The volunteers who fanned across this state worked tirelessly to support me and our platform, and I will never be able to return the favor.

Of the many lessons learned, I believe now more than ever in the importance of electing strong fiscal conservatives. The state's budget needs to be cut and the policies of higher taxes and deficit spending replaced by pro-growth fiscal policies.

So, after a short respite at the Ranch, I'll be back to advance the cause.

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