Ken Bennett
Ken Bennett, a candidate for Arizona Secretary of the State, speaks with editorial board members of the East Valley Tribune, Monday, October 4, 2010 in Mesa.

Saying he gets criticized no matter what, Secretary of State Ken Bennett is abandoning his 2-year-old pledge not to endorse any candidates for office.

Bennett, when running for office in 2010, said it’s “not appropriate” for someone who wants to be the state’s chief election official to support any candidate or back any ballot measure. Speaking during a political debate on Arizona Illustrated, a public affairs program on KUAT-TV, Bennett said that makes sense because the secretary of state is “going to have to conduct the election.”

This year, however, he is co-chair of the presidential bid by Republican Mitt Romney. And Bennett acknowledged that is a change in his personal policy.

But Bennett told Capitol Media Services on Monday there’s nothing improper about it.

“I am allowed like everyone else to have my personal opinions,” he said.

Bennett said his personal beliefs will not make a difference.

“Most of the processes and procedures we have here at the Secretary of State’s Office don’t involve me personally,” he said. Bennett said all the paperwork is handled by election workers.

“We don’t treat anybody any different, even if it’s my own paperwork,” he said.

But Bennett stepped in the middle of the presidential fray personally with his decision to seek certification from Hawaii that the state has a birth certificate on file for Barack Obama.

Bennett said he was only responding to a request by a constituent. And he said he is not playing favorites.

“I’ve got people now asking me to do the same thing, to verify Romney in Michigan, as I did in Hawaii,” he said. “And if Michigan has a similar mechanism to do that, I’ll do that, too.”

That “mechanism” according to Bennett is a Hawaii law which allows an official in any other state to seek certification that a specific document exists. Bennett emphasized that he is not seeking a certified copy of the actual birth certificate.

Bennett said he spoke late Friday with officials from that state’s health department as well as the attorney general’s office, providing assurances that his request fits within Hawaii law. Bennett said he now hopes to have an answer within days.

As to that change of heart on endorsements, Bennett said his experiences in the 2010 race made him believe “I was going to get beat up, whether I made endorsements or not.”

He had been Senate president before leaving that post in 2008. Back in private life, he did make endorsements.

But in 2009, Jan Brewer picked him to succeed her as secretary of state after she became governor after Janet Napolitano quit to become homeland security chief in the Obama administration. Bennett said his political foes seized on those prior endorsements as proof he could not run an unbiased office.

(9) comments

bobunf

Far more relevant than Obama's grades in college a quarter of a century ago, or Romney's Michigan long form birth certificate are Romney's tax returns for the last ten years.

Those should be very interesting indeed. What's he hiding?

fae4now

Crooked is as crooked does.

sdjtaz

In_God_We_Trust,

By the way, please send me links where I can find all of this information. I doubt that it's all out there. Also, could you tell me where I could find out what really happens in Romney's church (oh, that's right, it is also all private and not shared with non-LDS members). While your at it, could you lead me to all of the documents from Massachusetts relating to the health care initiative that Romney signed (oh, I forgot, Romney had all of those e-mails deleted from the records, so that there would be no record of how Romney developed a state version of "Obamacare").

sdjtaz

In-God-We-Trust,

First, lets correct a couple of things. First, how many president's have released their college transcripts. Did Reagan release his when running for office? How about Bush? What we do know are a couple of things. To enter Harvard Law School, an undergraduate must carry a 3.75 g.p.a. In addition, he graduated from both Columbia and Harvard with a honors, which also indicate a high GPA.

His medical records are sealed by law (HiPAA). Both his certified copy of original birth and his Embossed Paper are also subject to HIPAA as well as State law. However, copies have already been released numerous times and have been verified by numerous sources.

His Illinois voting record is not sealed. Information regarding his voting records have been released to several news agencies and other researchers. In example, we know that he voted "present", instead of "yea" or "nay" on 129 times in over 4000 votes in the Illinois Senate.

By the way, if you are going to try to take down President Obama, you should at least be more original than to use a right-wing viral e-mail that has been debunked numerous times.

In_God_We_Trust

Documents that Obummer is hiding

1. Occidental College Records - Sealed
2. Columbia College Records - Sealed
3. Columbia Thesis Paper - Sealed
4. Harvard College Records - Sealed
5. Selective Service Registration - Sealed
6. Medical Records - Sealed
7. Illinois State Schedule - Sealed
8. Illinois State Senate Records - Sealed
9. Law Practice Client List - Sealed
10. Certified Copy Of Original Birth Certificate - Sealed
11. Signed Embossed Paper Certificate Of Live Birth - Sealed
12. Baptism Record - Sealed

In 2004, he was endorsed by the communist party
In 2008, he was endorsed by the communist party
In 2012, he was endorsed by the communist party

I happen to know that anyone can get copies of any of these documents pertaining to Romney.

sdjtaz

I'm just curious. Bennett has asked Hawaii for confirmation of Obama's birth certificate. This request was made because one person (who he can't remember) has requested this. He has threatened to leave Obama off of the ballot, if he does not receive an answer to his liking.

Yet, I know that once this story broke, numerous citizens have contacted his office asking for confirmation of Romney's birth certificate. Has he contacted Michigan to get verification of the birth certificate and will he check it's authenticity. If Michigan does not respond to him will he leave Romney off the ballot. If he has done any of these things, I have yet to hear of it.

What we really have here is a public official with a conflict of interest, who is using his office for political purposes. As such, he should be removed from office. Instead, he will probably be rewarded by becoming Governor in 2014.

hmfic68

The guy running the election in this state is a co-chiar of a candidate . . . . sure, why not, sounds about right for this state?!?!

You just handed the election to Obama on appeal for Federal and State election violations in ethics . . .

soricobob

I never thought I'd agree with Bennett, but I do agree with him when he said he should not, in his current position, endorse a candidate.

bblade50

Just like most republicians He lies telling people that he is not going to endorse any one but here he comes and flip flops. We are still waitung on Mittens prove theat he can be on the ballot.

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