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Secretary Bennett's Endorsement of Romney Raises Questions

Ken Bennett at a rally for Mitt Romney in Tempe, Arizona, 20 April, 2012
Gage Skidmore
Ken Bennett at a rally for Mitt Romney in Tempe, Arizona, 20 April, 2012

A 2010 comment by Ken Bennett when he was running for secretary of state may be coming back to haunt him. 

During a debate in the 2010 race, Bennett was asked about endorsing something on that year's ballot.

"It's not appropriate for election officials to be taking positions on either the propositions or candidates when we're going to have to conduct the election," he said. 

But this year Bennett is co-chair of the Arizona campaign for Mitt Romney's presidential bid. Bennett told Arizona Public radio his personal beliefs are irrelevant to the work of the office done by staffers.

"Most of these processes occur at the counter where our employees process the documents and enter them into the system," he said. 

But Bennett stepped in the middle of the presidential fray personally with his decision to seek certification from Hawaii that state has a birth certificate on file for Barack Obama. Bennett said he was only responding to a request by a constituent. And he said he is not playing favorites.

"I've got people right now asking me to do the same thing, to verify Romney in Michigan as I did in Hawaii," Bennett said. "And if Michigan has a similar mechanism to do that, I'll do that, too."

Bennett said he spoke with Hawaii officials late Monday and expects a response to his request within days.