Republican newcomer Steve Gaynor elected Arizona secretary of state

Republican newcomer Steve Gaynor elected Arizona secretary of state

Political newcomer Steve Gaynor won the race for the No. 2 slot in the state — first in line if the governor quits, dies or is impeached.

Gaynor got the bid to be the Republican nominee after he knocked off incumbent Michele Reagan in the primary, capitalizing on a series of missteps she made in running prior elections. But Reagan's shadow was there in the general election against Democratic lawmaker Katie Hobbs as both promised to do a better job than their predecessor.

But they had differing views on how hard — or easy — it should be to vote.

Gaynor caused a bit of a stir with his comments early on that ballots should be printed only in English.

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He conceded that would require overturning a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act which requires counties and cities to provide election materials in other languages when there are significant numbers of voters for whom English is not their first language. Hobbs jumped on that to suggest Gaynor was seeking ways to suppress minority voting.

They also differed on the wisdom of the state's 2016 law which makes it a felony to take someone else's early ballot to polling places.

That law has exceptions for family members and caregivers. But Hobbs said that, too, makes it more difficult for some people to cast their ballots.

Gaynor sided with the Republicans who approved the law amid claims that allowing outsiders to handle ballots creates an opportunity for fraud.

The subject of "dark money" also arose this year as it did four years ago when Reagan, seeking election, vowed to seek greater disclosure of who is contributing to nonprofit "social welfare" organizations that run commercials for or against candidates and issues.

Reagan abandoned that position after her election. But the issue remain with Gaynor arguing there is a First Amendment right of these groups to refuse to disclose donors while Hobbs wants to overturn laws approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature that shield donors' identity.

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