AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes answers a question during a news conference regarding the 2018 elections in the county Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, in Phoenix.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Fontes narrowly lost his bid for re-election for Recorder to Republican challenger Stephen Richer in November.

Former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes became the first Democrat to announce a run for Secretary of State on Friday.

The Secretary of State, in addition to being second-in-command under Arizona’s governor, is the state’s chief elections officer and oversees several aspects of the election, including the certification of each election.

Arizona’s current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced last week that she would run for governor in 2022.

Fontes joins two Republican lawmakers who have also announced bids to run for the office: state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Rep. Mark Finchem.

‘Ready To Do The Job’

Fontes was elected to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in 2016, defeating Republican incumbent Helen Purcell, the longest-serving recorder in the county’s history. Fontes ran on a platform of restoring voter trust, making the office more secure, and improving voter outreach.

In a 17-second video posted to Twitter Friday, Fontes said Arizona was at a “major crossroads.”

“Arizona needs public officials who are going to be ready to do the job on Day 1,” Fontes said in the video. “I’m getting ready to run for Secretary of State. Are you with me?”

Fontes Critical of Senate Audit

Fontes has been a vocal critic of the Arizona Senate’s audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results, the same election in which he lost the race for Recorder by roughly 4,500 votes.

The audit was commissioned earlier this year by the state’s Republican-controlled Senate to “ensure transparency and integrity” in the election, but it has been plagued by concerns of mismanagement, lack of transparency, and lapses in security.

The audit has even drawn rebukes from Republican leaders on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and from Richer, who defeated Fontes in November.

Four Years As Maricopa County Recorder

During Fontes’ four years as recorder, he expanded options for early voting, cut down on long wait times, and made voting more accessible to more people. But he also faced criticism for election day problems in 2018 that saw long lines and some polling places where voters were unable to secure ballots for hours.

Following the 2018 election, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors subsequently took over some Election Day responsibilities from Fontes’ office. 

Fontes conceded his race in November after early results showed him trailing behind Richer.

“I’ve called (Richer) to congratulate him, and will be welcoming Maricopa’s 30th Recorder with a personal tour of our facilities next week,” he wrote. “#ProtectDemocracy”