Martin Sepulveda is dropping out of the state treasurer’s race after being called up for military duty.
Sepulveda, a reservist in the United States Navy, learned on Tuesday morning that must deploy for a new assignment that will keep him out of state for an extended period of time, according to a campaign spokesman. He informed supporters of his decision at a fundraiser that night.
Sepulveda said he doesn’t yet know many details of his reassignment at the Pentagon, and will learn more when he leaves for a regularly scheduled assignment to the Pentagon around late March. He said he does not know exactly when the new assignment will begin.
But the assignment is likely to take up at least 30 to 35 days in June, July or August, right in the thick of the primary election campaign. The primary election is on Aug. 26.
“Any time after May if a candidate is gone, and the primary is in August, does that work?” Sepulveda said.
Sepulveda said he will refund the money he has raised for his race. His Jan. 31 campaign finance report showed nearly $19,000 raised from contributors, along with $5,000 he loaned his campaign.
With Sepulveda’s exit, there is now a three-way race for the Republican nomination for treasurer. Peoria businessman Jeff DeWit, former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen are vying for the seat. No Democrats have entered the race.
Sepulveda has served in the military for 38 years, starting as a private in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a commander in the Navy.
The former Chandler City Council member and 2012 congressional candidate will retire from the military on Dec. 1. Sepulveda emphasized his family’s deep roots in Arizona – his family came to the area in 1790 and has been in the East Valley since the 1870s – and said he may run for office again.
“I’m not going anywhere. I left this place to go to war, and I came back,” he said.