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Arizona voters may have another chance to decide if they want a lieutenant governor

A bill that would have gubernatorial candidates select a running mate recently passed through the Arizona Senate, and will be on the November ballot pending House approval.

Currently, the plan of succession in Arizona calls for the secretary of state to assume the position in the event of the governor’s departure.

State Sen. J.D. Mesnard, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, says people don’t think of the secretary of state as Arizona’s governor-in-waiting, but the state has had several vacate the office.

“We've had folks pass away, we've had folks get appointed to other things. We have had folks get indicted, unfortunately. We've had folks get impeached. We've had literally, I think, every example that the constitution outlines,” Mesnard said.

The most recent secretary of state to become governor was Republican Jan Brewer, replacing Democrat Janet Napolitano after she left for a position in the Obama administration in 2009.

The bill, if approved in the November election, would take effect in 2026 — meaning the winner of this year’s governor’s race would need a running mate for a second term.

Arizona voters have rejected the idea twice in the past — in 1994 and again in 2010. Forty-five of 50 states have a lieutenant governor, although 17 of those states elect them separately while 26 have them included on the governor’s ticket.

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Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.