By Corinne Murdock |
Secretary of State Adrian Fontes has joined an effort to support President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. The initiative cited Fontes as a key worker to mobilize the Latino and rural voters in Arizona.
Fontes was the odd man out in the voter turnout effort, named the “2024 Mobilization Project,” because the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association (DLGA) launched it. The press release announcing the voter turnout campaign effort characterized Fontes as a fellow lieutenant governor, lumping him in with lieutenant governors Garlin Gilchrist (Michigan), Peggy Flanagan (Minnesota), Sara Rodriguez (Wisconsin), and Austin Davis (Pennsylvania).
“In critical swing states, the incumbent Democratic Lieutenant Governor has a demonstrated history of organizing and turning out key areas and constituencies,” stated the press release. “Secretary Adrian Fontes served as the County Recorder of Maricopa County for two terms before his 2022 election to Secretary of State, where he received the most votes out of any non-federal statewide office. He will be key in mobilizing Latino and rural voters throughout Arizona.”
DLGA’s website also lists Fontes as the “lieutenant governor” for Arizona.
Sergio Arellano, executive director of Conserva Mi Voto, told AZ Free News that Fontes’ involvement in the DLGA reelection initiative was suspect.
“Secretary of State Fontes says that he has ‘seen firsthand how vital it is to protect our democratic processes, and defend our elections,’ but rather than focus on protecting those processes for Arizonans, he is spending time engaged in partisan pandering,” said Arellano. “I don’t believe that the chief elected official tasked with managing our elections should be assisting an individual candidate that will most likely be on the ballot. If his participation in the Biden campaign is not a breach of ethics, it certainly appears to be.”
Arellano was quoting Fontes directly from his press release statement, in which he claimed that Democratic states have been delivering for voters.
“As Secretary of State, I have seen firsthand how vital it is to protect our democratic processes, defend our elections, and ensure every single person in our country, no matter where they live, who they are, or where they’re from, has access to their version of the American dream,” said Fontes. “To do that, it is absolutely paramount that we all work together, hand-in-hand, to elect Democrats in 2024.”
Arellano challenged Fontes’ claim that states have done better under Democratic leadership. Arellano recalled the recent #freethetamale controversy, in which Gov. Katie Hobbs killed a bill expanding allowed homemade food sales. The bill would’ve especially impacted Hispanic communities, where homemade food like tamales are often sold by street vendors and make up a key part of family income.
“Secretary Fontes says ‘every single person in our country, no matter where they live, who they are, or where they’re from, has access to their version of the American dream.’ However, President Biden has created an American nightmare for the average Latino in this country in his brief time in office,” said Arellano. “From runaway inflation to onerous regulations, the Biden administration and the Democrats are crushing opportunity. We have seen it firsthand in Arizona with the recent veto by Governor Katie Hobbs of the ‘tamale bill.’”
In addition to reelecting Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the DLGA said they planned to raise $15 million by 2026.
Arizona voters approved a constitutional amendment, Proposition 131, creating a lieutenant governorship last November; however, that position wouldn’t begin until January 2027. That leaves Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Wyoming the only states without lieutenant governors. Oregon’s secretary of state was also listed as a lieutenant governor on DLGA’s website, though Maine’s Senate president, who sits next in line for the governorship and is a Democrat, wasn’t listed.
DLGA issued its press release on Monday, a day before Biden formally announced his reelection bid.
The president’s initial campaign theme was, “Let’s Finish the Job,” insisting that his administration was focused on preserving and expanding Americans’ freedoms.
DLGA featuring Fontes, who isn’t a lieutenant governor, as a key player in mobilizing Latino votes aligns with the president’s formal reelection bid announcement. The campaign video included subtitles in only one other language than English: Spanish.
DLGA organized in August 2018.