Ken Bennett

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Ken Bennett
Ken Bennett.jpg
Arizona Secretary of State
Former officehodler
In office
2009 - 2015
PredecessorJan Brewer (R)
Base salary$70,000
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014 (Term-limited)
Campaign $$628,122
AppointedJanuary 9, 2009
Appointed byGov. Jan Brewer
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Prior offices
Arizona State Senate
Arizona House of Representatives
Arizona State Board of Education
High schoolPrescott High School (1977)
Bachelor'sArizona State University (1984)
Date of birthAugust 1, 1959
Place of birthTucson, Arizona
ReligionChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
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Ken Bennett (born August 1, 1959, in Tucson, Arizona) was the Arizona Secretary of State from 2009 to 2015. Bennett, a Republican, was first appointed to the position by former-Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) in January 2009. Brewer served as the secretary of state prior to the resignation of former-Gov. Janet Napolitano.[1] He won election to a full four-year term as secretary in 2010 and was barred by term limits from seeking re-election in 2014.[2] He attempted to run for the open governor's seat instead, but lost his bid for the Republican nomination in the primary on August 26, 2014. He was succeeded by Michele Reagan (R) on January 5, 2015.[3]

Bennett began his political career in 1985 as a member of the Prescott City Council. He was later named mayor pro-tempore, then on to the Arizona State Charter Schools Board, eventually advancing to the position of state legislator. In 2002, Bennett was the Republican Floor Leader for the Arizona State Senate. He served as Senate president for his final years (2003 to 2007) before reaching the office's four-term term limit.[4]

Bennett is a lifelong Arizona resident, with the exception of serving a couple years as a missionary in Southern Japan before University. His over 25-year career of mingled public service and private business has included working as a CEO of Bennett Oil Company, a family fuel-distribution business, of which he remains on the board of directors, and various companies dealing with alternative and efficient energy technologies.[4] In 2007, Bennett received the Polly Rosenbaum Award from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records for his "support of the State Library's mission to preserve Arizona's history and to provide access to information on the state."[4]

As Arizona Secretary of State, Bennett was responsible for publishing state laws and rules, serving as the chief election officer and overseeing the registration of Arizona business partnerships and trademarks, among a host of other duties. One of the office's unique features is its role as first in line of succession to the governorship. The lieutenant governor fulfills that role in most states, but since Arizona does not have a lieutenant governor, the secretary of state takes over in the event of a vacancy in the governor's office. This rule was activated for the fifth time in 2009 with Jan Brewer, Bennett's predecessor as secretary of state. Brewer became governor after the departure of elected-Gov. Janet Napolitano.[5]

Ineligible to seek another consecutive term as secretary of state, Bennett announced in September 2013 that he would run for Governor of Arizona in 2014.[6] Bennett could not immediately file his candidate paperwork because of Arizona's "resign-to-run" law. From 1980 to 2013, this law required Arizona officials to resign from their posts in order to begin campaigning or merely express serious interest in running for different office before the final year of their term. Paving the way for Bennett to declare his candidacy in the fall of 2013 was the state legislature's approval of a revised version of "resign-to-run" granting officials the freedom to publicly acknowledge upcoming bids without having to prematurely leave their current posts.[7][8] Bennett became the first candidate to file for the 2014 governor's race in April 2014.[9] He faced seven Republican candidates in the primary and was defeated by Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey.


Bennett was born in Tucson, grew up in Prescott, and attended Arizona State University in Tempe, where he earned his degree in accounting in 1984. Prior to entering politics, Bennett was CEO of Bennett Oil Company from 1984-2006 and served on the Prescott Economic Development Comm. Board of Directors, in addition to several other roles demonstrating his activeness within the community, including:[10][11]

  • Coach, Prescott Little League and AYSO Soccer (1989-1995)
  • Director, Prescott Chamber of Commerce (1991-1993)
  • Scout Master, Volunteer, Boy Scouts of America (1993-1998)
  • Former Director, Education Leaders Council (1995-present)
  • Board Member, Western Regional Medical Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (present)

Bennett receives $24,000 annually for his work on the board of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The time he spends working with them varies each month.[12]


  • Prescott High School (1977)
  • Attended Yavapai College (1981 President’s Scholarship)
  • B.S. in accounting - Arizona State University (1984)

Political career

Arizona Secretary of State (2009-present)

See also: Ballotpedia Q&A with Bennett

Upon transitioning into the office of Arizona Governor in January 2009, Jan Brewer (R) appointed Bennett to succeed her as secretary of state. Bennett was elected to a full term in 2010.[10]

According to the line of gubernatorial succession in Arizona, the secretary of state takes over the position of governor if it becomes vacant. As of Bennett's time in office, this had happened already five times, most recently with Jan Brewer, who went from secretary of state to governor in 2009 following the mid-term resignation of former-Gov. Janet Napolitano.[13]


In early 2012, Bennett coordinated with Attorney General of Arizona Tom Horne and Representative Eddie Farnsworth on a bill promoting transparency in the financing of campaigns. The legislation, House Bill 2385, addressed inadequate campaign finance regulations as well as a group called “Citizens United” organizations. The bill sought to "ensure the integrity of Arizona's electoral process by expanding corporate disclosure requirements."[14]

Bennett also changed a law that required state agencies to file a paper notice of where a public meeting notice will be posted. "Agencies will establish a notice area on their Web site creating transparency in government."[15]

Bennett addresses his staff

Updating office operations

Bennett upgraded the office's paper filing systems with an electronic system for improved efficiency and accuracy in processing records and election data. He also updated the Secretary of State website to meet to state layout standards. The new site archives all office and election information, and is more user-friendly, making information more accessible and transparent to Arizona constituents.

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Ken Bennett endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [16]


Bennett has sought to increase government transparency in a variety of ways, such delivering presentations to groups Arizona aimed at educating the public about the state budget. The following presentation, known as the "kleenex box," features Bennett explaining the complexities of the budget. It has become a tent-pole of Bennett's time as secretary of state.[17]

Arizona State Senate (1999-2007)

Bennett served four terms in the Arizona Senate from 1999-2007. In 2002, Bennett was the Republican Floor Leader for the Arizona State Senate; From 2003-2007, he served as Senate president. Bennett left the legislature in 2007, having reached the office's four-term term limit.[4]

Arizona House of Representatives (1998-1999)

Bennett was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1998 as the representative of Legislative District 1.[4]

Arizona State Board of Education (1992-1998)

Bennett appointed to the Arizona State Board of Education in 1992. He served as president in 1996 and again in 1998 before his election to the Arizona State Legislature.

Prescott Municipal Government (1985-1922)

Bennett was elected to the Prescott City Council in 1985. He served as Mayor Pro-Tempore in 1988.[4]



See also: Arizona Gubernatorial election, 2014

Barred by term limits from running for re-election as secretary of state, Bennett began laying the groundwork for a 2014 bid to replace term-limited Republican incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer back in 2011. He redirected his 2010 campaign website to, though which his campaign committee got an early start organizing events, volunteers and fundraising. Bennett formed an exploratory committee for the open-seat governor's race in the summer of 2013, and finally declared his candidacy on September 18, 2013. Per Arizona election law, the outgoing secretary of state was required to wait until 2014 to file for the election, which he did in April.[18][6] He ultimately did not win the Republican nomination in the primary on August 26, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Primary election - August 26, 2014

Governor of Arizona Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDoug Ducey 37.2% 200,607
Scott Smith 22.1% 119,107
Christine Jones 16.7% 89,922
Ken Bennett 11.5% 62,010
Andrew Thomas 8.1% 43,822
Frank Riggs 4.5% 24,168
Mike Aloisi (Write-in) 0% 27
Alice Lukasik (Write-in) 0% 27
Total Votes 539,690
Election Results via Arizona Secretary of State.


General election
Ducey vs. DuVal vs. Hess

Arizona Governor - General election match-ups
Poll Doug Ducey (R) Fred DuVal (D)Barry J. Hess (L)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Garin-Hart-Yang (D)
February 3-6, 2014
The Arizona Republic
August 24-25, 2014
Terrance (R-Arizona Free Enterprise Club)
September 15-17, 2014
Keating (D-Restore Arizona's Future PAC)
September 17-19, 2014
Moore Information
October 7-8, 2014
American Encore
October 20-22, 2014
AVERAGES 38.33% 36.33% 6.83% 18.17% +/-4.15 532.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Ducey vs. Duval

Governor of Arizona - Ducey vs. DuVal
Poll Doug Ducey (R) Fred DuVal (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Susquehanna Polling and Research
November 2013
Rasmussen Reports
August 27-28, 2014
New York Times/CBS/YouGov
September 20-October 1, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
October 14-16, 2014
New York Times/CBS/YouGov
October 16-23, 2014
AVERAGES 44.6% 38.8% 15% +/-1.2 1,587
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Primary polling
Republican primary

Arizona Governor - GOP Primary
Poll Ken Bennett Doug DuceyChristine JonesFrank RiggsScott SmithAndrew ThomasUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Harper Polling
June 25-26, 2014
Magellan Strategies
July 9-10, 2014
Gravis Marketing
July 14, 2014
Harper Polling
July 16-17, 2014
Arizona Automobile Dealers Association
August 15, 2014
Harper Polling
August 19-20, 2014
AVERAGES 11% 28.83% 18.17% 1.83% 16.17% 6.33% 17.83% +/-3.04 845.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Republican primary

Arizona Governor - GOP primary
Poll Ken Bennett Christine JonesAl MelvinAndrew ThomasDoug DuceyScott SmithUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Susquehanna Polling and Research
(November 2013)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Race background

Outside money in the gubernatorial race

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) and other outside groups supporting Doug Ducey (R) spent $3.4 million through mid-October on TV ads to portray Fred DuVal (D) as a puppet of lobbyists and special interests in Arizona. An analysis by The Republic showed that Ducey and DuVal were both recipients of significant campaign contributions from lobbyists. This analysis revealed that lobbyists contributed $185,000 to Ducey and $250,000 to DuVal by the report's publication on October 26. The Republic showed that 11 percent of DuVal's overall contributions in 2014 came from lobbyists, placing this analysis into context.[19]

Term limits for Gov. Brewer

Incumbent Jan Brewer (R) was term-limited from seeking re-election, leaving the seat open for the 2014 electoral cycle. The race was rated "Likely R" by The Cook Political Report, meaning Brewer would be succeeded by another Republican.[20] Meanwhile, Governing rated the general election between major party nominees Doug Ducey (R) and Fred DuVal (D) as a "Toss-up."[21]

Brewer was originally appointed to the position in 2009 and was elected once in 2010. Arizona's term limit laws preclude any individual who has occupied the governor's office during two consecutive terms from running for re-election. Brewer and some of her supporters asserted that the law does not adequately account for the conditions of Brewer's incomplete first term. Hints that Brewer would pursue an exemption from the term-limit law or otherwise attempt to circumvent the eligibility restriction began in November 2012 and persisted until March 2014. A crowded field of Republican hopefuls rushed into the race to replace Brewer as Arizona's chief executive official before the first filing window closed in May. Former Arizona Board of Regents President Fred DuVal earned an automatic pass to the general election as the sole Democratic Party entrant.

Heated Republican primary

The hotly contested GOP primary attracted several big names from government and the private sector, such as outgoing Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Mesa mayor Scott Smith and former executive vice president Christine Jones. Ducey looked to be the front-runner in the months leading up to the primary, owing to a consistent polling lead and strong name recognition, although Smith and Jones were close on his tail. After Ducey won the Republican primary on August 26, 2014, defeated challengers Thomas and Riggs immediately endorsed Ducey. Bennett, Smith and Jones, however, in an act that defied post-primary custom, all declined to give the nominee their automatic support. The trio of former candidates also skipped the Arizona Republican Party "unity breakfast" held the morning after election day. Explaining their reticence to the Arizona Republic the day after Ducey's primary victory, the recently eliminated contenders cited some unspecified "issues" with some of Ducey's stances and their lingering skepticism over Ducey's account of his role in a legal dispute stemming from the 2007 sale of Cold Stone Creamery.[22] In the subsequent weeks, all three came around to backing Ducey for the general election.[23]

Rounding out the ballot

With all eyes trained on the GOP contest in the final stretch of the primary campaign season, the number of minor-party and unaffiliated contenders who qualified or were in the process of qualifying for placement on the November 4 ballot swelled to 17. After the primary, Ducey joined DuVal and this diverse pool of lesser known candidates seeking to fill the open governor's seat.[24][25]


See also: Arizona Secretary of State election, 2010
  • 2010 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary
  • Ken Bennett ran unopposed in this contest
Arizona Secretary of State, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngKen Bennett Incumbent 60.1% 966,934
     Democratic Chris Deschene 39.9% 641,131
Total Votes 1,608,065
Election Results via Arizona Secretary of State

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Bennett is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Bennett raised a total of $898,123 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 4, 2014.[26]

Ken Bennett's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Arizona Secretary of State Not up for election $7,390
2010 Arizona Secretary of State Won $483,618
2004 Arizona State Senate District 1 Won $300,775
2002 Arizona State Senate District 1 $49,232
2000 Arizona State Senate District 1 Won $17,950
1998 Arizona State Senate District 1 Won $34,511
1996 Arizona House of Representatives District 1 Defeated $4,647
Grand Total Raised $898,123

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Ken Bennett's donors each year.[27] Click [show] for more information.


Bennett currently resides in Prescott, Arizona with his wife, Jeanne, and their three children - Ryan, Dana,and Clif. He is a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[10]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Ken + Bennett + Arizona + Secretary"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Ken Bennett News Feed

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Contact information


Capitol Address:
1700 West Washington Street, 7th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2888

Phone: (602) 542-4285
Toll Phone: (602) 255-8683
Fax: (602) 542-1575

Arizona State Complex Building
400 West Congress, 2nd Floor, Room 252
Tucson, AZ 85701

Phone: 520-628-6583
Fax: 520-628-6938

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Campaign links


Campaign Facebook
Campaign Twitter


The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from October 23, 2010.


  1. AZ Central, "Brewer picks Ken Bennett for sec. of state" 9 Jan. 2009
  2. East Valley Tribune, "State races: It's a Republican sweep" 2 Nov. 2010
  3. Arizona Department of State, Office of the Secretary of State, "Michele Reagan - Biography," accessed January 6, 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Ken Bennett for SoS, "Timeline," accessed February 14, 2012
  5. AZ Central, Republican Ken Bennett defeats Chris Deschene, Nov 3, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Eastern Arizona Courier, "Bennett announces candidacy," September 17, 2013
  7. Arizona Republic, "All eyes on 2014 race for governor," November 11, 2012
  8. Arizona Capitol Times, "Changes in Arizona's resign-to-run law unmuzzles candidates," September 19, 2013
  9., "Ken Bennett 1st to file for Arizona governor," April 10, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Office of the Arizona Secretary of State, " Biography of Ken Bennett," accessed July 19, 2013
  11. Linked In, Ken Bennett, accessed July 31, 2013
  12. TPM, Arizona Secretary Of State On Payroll Of FreedomWorks Bankroller, May 7, 2013
  13. AZ Central, Republican Ken Bennett defeats Chris Deschene, Nov 3, 2013
  14. Office of the Secretary of State, "Press Release," January 18, 2012
  15. Ken Bennett for Arizona SoS, "Accomplishments," accessed February 14, 2012
  16. Mitt Romney for President, "Mitt Romney Announces Support of Additional Arizona Elected Officials," February 2, 2012
  17. Ken Bennett for Governor 2014 Official campaign website, "The Kleenex Box Presentation – Our $30B+ State Budget," February 11, 2014
  18. Bennett for Governor, "Exploratory Committee," accessed July 31, 2013
  19., "Lobbyists aid campaigns of Doug Ducey, Fred DuVal," October 26, 2014
  20. The Cook Political Report, "Governors Race Ratings 2014," September 15, 2014
  21. Governing, "2014 Governors Races," September 10, 2014
  22. The Arizona Republic, "Ducey's key GOP rivals in no rush to end," August 29, 2014
  23., "Defeated candidates for GOP nomination back Ducey," September 4, 2014
  24. The New York Times, "Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona Won’t Seek Re-election," March 12, 2014
  25. Arizona Republic, "Kanefield: Constitution clears Brewer to pursue another term," November 15, 2012
  26. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Ken Bennett," accessed June 4, 2013
  27. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Jan Brewer (R)
Arizona Secretary of State
Succeeded by