Secretary of state: Deschene wins Dem nomination - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Secretary of state: Deschene wins Dem nomination

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Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 9:51 pm | Updated: 1:41 pm, Wed Aug 25, 2010.

State Rep. Chris Deschene has won the Democratic nomination to compete for the job of Arizona's chief elections officer and second in line to the governor.

Deschene, of LeChee on the Navajo Nation, beat former Arizona real estate commissioner Sam Wercinski of Phoenix.

In the Nov. 2 general election, Deschene will go up against Republican Ken Bennett, who has been secretary of state since January 2009. He assumed the job after Jan Brewer was elevated to governor.

Both Deschene and Wercinski said they wanted the secretary of state to have a more active role in Arizona's government that would better reflect the duties assumed when the governor is absent.

The governor's powers go to the secretary of state when the governor is absent from the state. Five secretaries of state have assumed the governorship in Arizona history. Arizona does not have a lieutenant governor, though a ballot measure this year could change that.

Deschene, 39, has experience in the legal and engineering fields. He was elected to the state Legislature in 2008 and has worked on bills that directly affect the voting rights of state residents.

Deschene said his diverse background made him best suited for the job.

Wercinski, 48, outspent Deschene by more than $30,000 in his first run at political office. Wercinski served two years as state real estate commissioner and touted his experience in the private sector.

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