The list of potential candidates to succeed U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake now includes Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
Smith said Flake’s announcement that he’s aiming to replace the retiring Sen. Jon Kyl didn’t make him think about the congressional job.
Then Smith’s phone rang with people saying they could see Smith going to Washington.
“I have to admit I did not think of it before,” Smith said Tuesday. “I had more than one person who has talked seriously about it, and I am going to weigh the options,” Smith said Tuesday.
The mayor of Arizona’s third largest city joins what’s likely to be a large number of candidates for the 6th Congressional District. Other names include state Senate President Russell Pearce, House Speaker Kirk Adams and state Sen. Rich Crandall — all Mesa Republicans. The political landscape could shift even before the 2012 election, as Arizona law requires candidates in office to resign if they formally announce their bids more than a year before Election Day.
Smith was elected in 2008 and would face re-election in November 2012. He’ll spend the next few months thinking about things like the impact to his family, the millions to fund the race and potential contenders.
Smith is a former homebuilder with degrees in accounting and law. He was a major proponent of the successful November 2010 election to fund a new Chicago Cubs spring training complex in Mesa, and voters in his city overwhelmingly approved bond elections last year despite a rough economy.
Smith said his top commitment remains leading Mesa.
“My purpose in being mayor was not to set up for another office,” he said. “But there’s no doubt with some of the successes that we’ve experienced in Mesa and the other good things that have happened, there are people who approach me from time to time with other plans.”
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