Mesa Mayor Scott Smith to kick off campaign for governor

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has finally gone and done it.

After months of speculation, the East Valley businessman turned politician will officially jump into the governor’s race Thursday morning, according to campaign spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico.

Smith, 57, will face tough opposition in a GOP primary that includes well-financed state Treasurer Doug Ducey, who has already raised more than $1 million for his campaign.

Other rivals for the GOP nomination include Secretary of State Ken Bennett, businesswoman Christine Jones, state Sen. Al Melvin, and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Smith is expected to show up at the Secretary of State’s office at 10:30 a.m. to file the necessary paperwork.

Since he was elected mayor in 2008, Smith has been credited with turning around the financial fortunes of Mesa.

In doing so, he was also tagged by political opponents as a big-spending Republican. It’s a label he’ll likely have to overcome to win the party’s nomination in August.