In a year of transition for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Republican Bill Montgomery will be the one to transform it into what he says will be "his office" and not a clone of former county attorney Andrew Thomas.
Montgomery handily won the race for the county attorney's post, defeating Libertarian Michael Kielsky by capturing 75 percent of the votes to Kielsky's 25 percent, according to official results from the Maricopa County Board of Elections.
Montgomery's early magic number during election night ranged from 74 to 76 percent, margins he held after the early votes and after all of the ballots were turned in, according to the Maricopa County Board of Elections.
Montgomery, 43, who formerly served as a deputy county prosecutor for two stints, last served as head of the auto theft division before resigning April 30 soon after Rick Romley returned to the office. Romley replaced Thomas earlier this year when Thomas resigned to run for attorney general.
Montgomery, who supports the death penalty, ran on a platform of hot-button issues, including crimes committed by illegal immigrants, elder abuse and crimes against children.
He credited the hard work of his volunteer staff, which numbered more than 100 and where he stood on the issues as resonating with the voters.
"This is great," Montgomery said of his victory. "I was thinking that a 60 to 40 percent victory would have been pretty good, but it was better than that."
Montgomery vows to enforce all the laws "fully and thoroughly" and said he would revisit the office's current policies involving illegal immigration and the Employee Sanctions Act that were adjusted after Thomas resigned. Mirroring words from his campaign, Montgomery also said he would plan to indict co-conspirators under the human smuggling statute, something his Republican challenger in the primary said he would not do.
"We are also hopeful and expectant to have a good working relationship with the sheriff's office and the board of supervisors, ending the discord between the board and prosecutor's office in the past."
Kielsky, 46, and a 31-year resident of Arizona and an attorney in Scottsdale, was running on the platform of opposing SB 1070, Arizona's new illegal immigration law, and not fully supporting the death penalty.
Kielsky said late Tuesday he expected he would do better than the results showed.
"I'm disappointed," Kielsky said. "I was expecting to do a lot better than that. I was expecting nothing less than 30 percent of the vote and hoping for 40 percent. I had expected getting a decent number of people who vote Democrat as well as independents and a fair amount of Republicans. I'm surprised."
Montgomery said that Kielsky was an honorable opponent and respected the way he presented his stance on the issues.