Ugenti-Rita Announces Campaign for Top Arizona Election Job | Texas
PHOENIX (AP) – Republican Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita is running for Arizona secretary of state, seeking to propel her advocacy for stricter election laws to the state’s top electoral office.
The Scottsdale lawmaker announced his campaign plans on Wednesday night.
Ugenti-Rita has sponsored a controversial bill that will purge people from the permanent early voting list if they skip two election cycles. The measure, which was signed this month by Gov. Doug Ducey, was rejected by fierce opposition from voting rights groups and some business executives who said it would be more difficult for voters infrequent to vote. Ugenti-Rita said the measure would prevent votes from going to people who don’t seem interested in voting by mail.
Ugenti-Rita is chair of the Senate Governing Commission, a post she used to push for more restrictive election laws even before President Donald Trump and some of his supporters used unsubstantiated fraud theories when 2020 elections to push for sweeping changes to electoral law.
In the GOP primary, Ugenti-Rita faces State Representative Mark Finchem, a Republican from Tucson who worked with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to cast doubt on Trump’s narrow loss in Arizona and was at the rally of January 6 which became an insurrection. Finchem’s campaign website contains false allegations of electoral fraud.
Democrat Katie Hobbs is generally expected to run for governor rather than running for a second term as secretary of state.
Ugenti-Rita became a face of the #MeToo movement in Arizona in 2018 when she publicly accused fellow lawmaker Republican Don Shooter of repeated sexual harassment. His claims ultimately contributed to Shooter’s expulsion from the Legislature.
Later, in a prosecution statement over Shooter’s eviction, a lobbyist said she felt sexually harassed when she received unwanted explicit photos of Ugenti-Rita of her husband current. Ugenti-Rita said in her own testimony that she was unaware that her partner would send the photos to the lobbyist.
Arizona does not have a lieutenant governor, and the secretary of state is the first to take over if the governor leaves before the end of his term. This has happened three times since 1988.
In addition to monitoring elections, the Secretary of State maintains campaign finance and lobbying records, manages the state library and archives, registers trademarks, and licenses notaries.
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