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Updated Aug 7, 2014 - 9:57 am

Arizona Sen. Al Melvin drops out of governor’s race

PHOENIX — State Sen. Al Melvin on Monday dropped his bid for the
Republican nomination for Arizona governor, citing his inability to collect
enough contributions to win public funding for his campaign.

The move leaves six other Republicans to slug it out for their party’s
nomination in the Aug. 26 primary and the chance to take on Democrat Fred DuVal
in the November general election. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer can’t seek a third
term.

Melvin said he could not run a viable campaign without the more than $750,000
he would have received from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, so he
decided to pull out. The Tucson lawmaker needed 4,500 $5 contributions to win
that funding.

“I frankly didn’t expect it to turn out this way, but it did,” Melvin said in
an interview.

He added that “you enter these things to win” but he wasn’t able to secure
his Clean Elections funding well before early balloting begins at the end of
July. He says 50 to 60 percent of conservative Republicans vote early.

Staying in the race would have split the conservative vote, Melvin said. He did
not identify whom he would support but said he would likely endorse a candidate
within a couple of weeks.

The remaining GOP hopefuls are state Treasurer Doug Ducey, former Go Daddy
executive Christine Jones, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Secretary of State Ken
Bennett, former U.S. Rep. Frank Riggs and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew
Thomas.

Thomas last week was denied public funding for his campaign after falling 113
contributions short of the qualifying number. Thomas, who lost his law license
in 2012 because of failed corruption investigations that he and county Sheriff
Joe Arpaio launched against political opponents, has one chance to file
additional contributions and win his funding. He’s actively gathering
contributions.

Bennett has received public funding, but the other four candidates are running
with private financing.

Melvin’s withdrawal will likely not be a game-changer, because he was seen as a
minor player behind Ducey, Jones, Smith and Bennett.

Melvin said he thought he had done well on the campaign trail and in more than
30 candidate forums. He was pushing “Texas-style” tort reform, universal
school vouchers, border security and development of nuclear power, among other
issues.

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