A short time after he announced he would run against U.S. Rep. Martha McSally as a Democrat, Billy Kovacs spent several hours Monday explaining that he wasn't a Republican.
Kovacs, the operations manager of Hotel Congress, stressed in a statement to the Arizona Daily Star that he had been a registered Democrat since 2008.
The Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles made a clerical error last year, he said, changing his registration in August, formally making him a Republican. Kovacs wasn't aware of the issue until he was asked about his registration by the Arizona Daily Star.
"I am a registered Democrat," he said. "This error was part of a systemic wide issue at the DMV that affected countless others in Southern Arizona last year. The Secretary of State has corrected this error in my party affiliation. I am dismayed this happened to me as it did to countless others last year."
This campaign has since turned over the document he submitted to the DMV, showing he indicated he was still and did not want to change his party registration.
However, Kovacs wasn't always a registered Democrat. He registered as a Republican in 2006, election records show. He registered as a Democrat in October 2008, shortly before the election of President Barack Obama.
In his announcement Monday, Kovacs said he would challenge McSally since she has refused to stand up to the President Donald Trump.
"Donald Trump and his administration's policies and rhetoric are divisive, un-American and offensive. Congresswoman McSally is complicit, and her pledge to be an independent voice has turned out to be a false promise," he said. "With her 100 percent support of President Trump's agenda, she has proven herself to be nothing short of a rubber stamp for a President whose policies crush working and middle-class families in Southern Arizona."
Kovacs has worked in Cochise County at his family's vineyard in Pearce and cofounded Tucson eatery Prep and Pastry.
He joins a crowded field of Democrats vying to run against McSally. Other candidates who have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the Congressional District 2 seat include William Foster and Charlie Verdin.
Jeff Latas, who ran for the Democratic nomination for Congress in Southern Arizona in 2005-2006, has also indicated he is considering a run for the seat.