Mills remains on ballot despite suspending bid for Republican nomination - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Mills remains on ballot despite suspending bid for Republican nomination

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Posted: Friday, July 30, 2010 4:11 pm | Updated: 12:04 pm, Fri Aug 13, 2010.

He may not be spending any more of his cash on TV commercials.

But Buz Mills has decided to remain in the race for governor.

Press aide Mike Scerbo confirmed Friday that Mills, who "suspended" his bid for the Republican nomination, does not intend to formally withdraw from the race. That means his name remains on the ballot and any votes he gets will be counted.

"Buz remains on the ballot as an alternative to deficit spending and tax hikes," Scerbo told Capitol Media Services.

That mirrors the heart of the campaign he had waged for months against incumbent Jan Brewer whom he criticized for not proposing deeper cuts in state spending to balance the budget while pushing the temporary sales tax hike that voters eventually approved.

But Mills' continued presence in the race may not make much difference at all.

A statewide survey conducted by Behavior Research Center just before his July 13 withdrawal found Mills backed by just 12 percent of registered Republicans and independents planning to vote in the GOP primary. At that time Brewer was at 57 percent.

And that was after Mills had reported spending close to $3.2 million of his own money to raise his name ID and get his message out.

Scerbo declined to say whether Mills has spent anything since.

A campaign finance report filed Friday covers only contributions and expenditures through the end of June. The next report is not due until Aug. 12, slightly two weeks before the primary.

Early voting began Thursday.

Mills decision to keep his political toe in the water differs sharply from state Treasurer Dean Martin and former Board of Regents President John Munger. Both have filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's Office formally withdrawing from the race.

In Martin's case, though, he originally had just "suspended" his campaign. His formal withdrawal came only Thursday, after the ballots were sent to the printer and the software to count those ballots was programmed.

Matthew Benson, spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office, said signs will be posted at all polling places telling voters he has pulled out of the race.

Benson said any votes Martin gets will be tabulated and reported on unofficial totals. But Benson said that Martin, by virtue of the withdrawal form he signed, acknowledged that any votes would not count and he would not become governor even if, by some chance, he got the most votes.

The GOP race involves more than Brewer and Mills. Political newcomer Matt Jette remains in the contest.

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