Democratic state treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny got some traction in the primary for getting splashy names in his camp, such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

Add former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe - a Republican - to the list. A formal announcement will come today that Kolbe is not only endorsing the former state prosecutor but will chair his campaign.

Kolbe said he can't recall ever endorsing a Democrat at a federal or statewide level, although he has supported Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in the past. Now that Kolbe is out of office, the 11-term ex-congressman said, "I tend to look less and less at party labels and more at who can do the job."

The two met several years ago at a private retreat geared toward business, finance and political discussions. "Andrei's thinking matches my own," Kolbe said. "Particularly in a race like treasurer, party label doesn't mean a lot. What I'm looking for is someone who has the background, knowledge and management skills to help get Arizona out of the fiscal mess that we're in." Cherny praised Kolbe's conservative fiscal policies and history of working across the aisle. He added that he refuses to believe bipartisanship is dead.

Cherny said he believes he could help spur job creation. He said he'd consider investing in companies that would create jobs in Arizona if the investment made sense in terms of safety, security and rate of return. He said the treasurer could do more auditing of the state government and could be a voice to not only sound an alarm when things go wrong, but also to offer solutions on economic issues.

Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at 573-4243 or