Bennett taking Secretary of State’s Office to court

Gubernatorial hopeful Ken Bennett delivers a summons late Friday to Kari Benz at the Secretary of State's Office for a hearing Monday on his attempt to get more time to get $5 donations to qualify for public funding for his campaign. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

Gubernatorial hopeful Ken Bennett delivers a summons late Friday to Kari Benz at the Secretary of State's Office for a hearing Monday on his attempt to get more time to get $5 donations to qualify for public funding for his campaign. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

PHOENIX – Gubernatorial hopeful Ken Bennett is asking a judge to give him one last chance to qualify for public funding for his campaign.

The lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court contends that the Secretary of State’s Office shut down the online portal for people to make $5 donations that would entitle him to $839,704 in his bid to be the Republican nominee at 5 p.m. Tuesday. But he said Arizona law set the deadline for donations at midnight that night.

Bennett said he already has 3,995 donations. And he contends that he would have had the minimum 4,000 – and more – if the web site had not gone dark.

Representing himself, Bennett wants Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Connie Contes to direct the site to be reopened for at least four hours. He told Capitol Media Services that will give campaign volunteers a chance to contact people who had said they would have given but for problems with the portal.

And he wants Contes to order the Citizens Clean Elections Commission which administers the public funding to accept these late donations even though they come after the deadline.

A hearing is set for Monday morning.

Matt Roberts, , spokesman for Secretary of State Michele Reagan, said he does not know whether she will oppose what Bennett, himself a former secretary of state, is demanding.

“The lawyers will decide that over the weekend,’’ he said.

But Tom Collins, executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, said the extra time Bennett wants is contrary to the law.

Bennett acknowledged that by the time he gets a final ruling – especially if there is an appeal of whatever Contes decides – Tuesday’s primary election will be over. That means even if he gets his $5 donations and qualifies for the money it is too late for him to spend Kelli Ward groused about McCain family before he died

PHOENIX (AP) –Hours before Sen. John McCain died on Saturday, a Republican seeking Arizona's other U.S. Senate seat suggested that his family's earlier announcement that he was ending cancer treatment had been timed to hurt her campaign.

Former State Sen. Kelli Ward, who lost a primary to McCain running from the right in 2016 and is now trying to win the GOP nomination for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake's seat, made the suggestion in response to a Facebook post by a campaign aide.

According to screenshots of the conversation posted on Twitter by Arizona political reporters, the aide, Jonathan Williams, wondered if it was "just a coincidence" that the announcement of McCain ending medical treatment came the day Ward was launching a statewide bus tour, her big push before Tuesday's primary.

Ward replied: "I think they wanted to have a particular narrative that is negative to me."

After her response was Tweeted out, Ward deleted the post and replaced it with one claiming the media was concocting a story.

"I've said again and again to pray for Senator McCain & his family," Ward wrote. "These decisions are terrible to have to make. I feel compassion for him and his family as they go through this."

Ward has acknowledged she is the underdog in Tuesday's primary. She faces Rep. Martha McSally and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

A message left with Ward's campaign office on Sunday morning was not immediately returned.