Adrian Fontes || Gage Skidmore via Flickr
By Stacey Barchenger || The Arizona Republic
After less than a month in office this January, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes received a threat concerning enough to prompt him to tell staff to work from home the next day.
The threatening phone call was reported to law enforcement, and Fontes’ second-in-command requested an urgent meeting with Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ chief of staff to discuss obtaining security — and fast, according to records obtained by The Arizona Republic.
But what emerged from that conversation was disagreement about what level of security the secretary should receive, and who should pay for it. Fontes has continued pushing for immediate action via other means.
Fontes sought an around-the-clock security detail, but the state Department of Public Safety — which provides protection for elected officials — conducted an assessment and said other lesser precautions were warranted, according to Hobbs’ chief of staff Allie Bones.
Hobbs, the former secretary of state who at times received special state-funded security staff after the 2020 election, ultimately didn’t authorize a detail of DPS personnel for Fontes. Bones cited resource limitations and the DPS evaluation.
“We have been very clear with the secretary’s office that if there was a situation in which there were threats against the secretary that were actionable and direct, that we would make sure that he and his family and any other officials that were within his office or others that needed security protection would have it,” Bones said.
Fontes in the meantime has hired private security paid with campaign funds and turned to lobbying lawmakers for money to provide security through the state budget that begins July 1.