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Draft Dean Martin for governor campaign begins

An anonymous Web site seeking to draft state Treasurer Dean Martin into the 2010 governor’s race is up and running, signaling what could be an early start to a Republican primary campaign that many observers expect to be crowded – whether Gov. Jan Brewer runs or not.

Martin, one of more than a dozen Republicans whose names are being floated as possible candidates, said he is considering a run for governor, though he said he has not made a final decision and still plans to run for re-election as treasurer. Martin said he did not know who was running the site, www.draftdeanmartin4governor.com.

“I don’t know who it is. I’ve asked the people who worked on my campaign in the past, and they said no, they’re not doing it. I’m not quite sure who it is,” Martin said.

The site was registered on Aug. 13, just days after Martin told reporters that he was considering a run for governor. The site was registered with GoDaddy.com by Domains By Proxy Inc., a Scottsdale- based company that allows clients to register Web sites anonymously.

The creators of the site give no indication as to their identity, and have no contact information available online. The content includes a number of newspaper and blog articles about Martin and the state’s fiscal crisis, as well as a brief “about me” section explaining the site’s goal.

Brewer’s call for a temporary sales tax increase to balance the state’s budget, and her early July veto of a budget that did not refer the question to the ballot for voters to decide, has generated a great deal of discontent among Republicans, who had high hopes for Brewer after she replaced Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano. Brewer has not said whether she will run for a full term in 2010.
No Arizona treasurer has ever become governor, or even won the nomination from either party. Former Treasurer Carol Springer, who sought the GOP nomination in 2002, isn’t reading much into that trend, however, and notes that treasurers in many other states have gone on to serve as governor.

“In other states, treasurers have been successful, just not in Arizona,” said Springer, who now serves on the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors. “So I don’t think that there is anything particularly detrimental, let’s say, to being treasurer and running for that office. I think anyone who’s achieved that office, especially someone who’s gone through the Legislature, is certainly qualified.” Considering today’s economic climate and the depth of the state’s fiscal crisis, Springer said a gubernatorial candidate with a strong finance background could be appealing to voters. Martin, who has publicly criticized both Napolitano and Brewer over budget issues, agrees, though he said there is more to being governor than just maneuvering through the budget process.

“I think definitely people are going to be more interested in people with financial backgrounds and experience,” he said. “But at the end of the day it’s a much bigger office, and there’s a large variety of issues that you’re going to have to talk about. Obviously, the economy and the budget are on top of everybody’s mind right now because there is no budget. But that will change.”

Martin’s chances of winning the Republican nomination are hard to assess, Springer said, because Brewer might seek a full term, and other prominent Republicans might jump into the race as well. Despite speculation that Brewer will bow out of the race, Springer, who served for years with her in the Legislature, thinks the governor will run.

“Obviously, running against an incumbent of the same party would be something of a handicap, I think,” Springer said. “She certainly is qualified and (has) a little experience, albeit under a very difficult situation. I do think that she will run.”

Others who are rumored to be considering a run for governor include Secretary of State Ken Bennett, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack, 2006 Republican nominee Len Munsil, former Arizona Republican Party Chairman John Munger, former U.S.

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

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