Scott Smith resigns as Mesa mayor for governor's race - WSMV Channel 4

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Scott Smith resigns as Mesa mayor for governor's race

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Mesa Mayor Scott Smith says he is running for governor. (Source: CBS 5 News) Mesa Mayor Scott Smith says he is running for governor. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Smith answers questions from the media after his announcement in Jan. (Source: CBS 5 News) Smith answers questions from the media after his announcement in Jan. (Source: CBS 5 News)
MESA, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has resigned effective Wednesday to run for governor.

The city of Mesa made the announcement that as of 12:01 p.m. Wednesday, Vice Mayor Alex Finter became mayor pro tem of Mesa. He will hold the office of mayor until the special election is held in August and those election results are certified.

Smith made his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Arizona governor official in January and filed paperwork with the secretary of state's office to form an exploratory committee.

There had been a lot of talk of him being the Republican Party frontrunner to replace Gov. Jan Brewer.

Now many are asking: What's next for Mesa?

"Mesa is in good hands. I didn't do what I did in Mesa by myself. It was a team effort [with] a great council [and] incredible management," said Smith, while answering questions before filing the paperwork.

Over the past five years, Mesa has seen incredible growth. The city is now installing a light-rail extension, which will connect it to the rest of the system. Apple recently announced it is moving one of its plants to the Valley's second largest city.

"He leaves quite a void," said Richard Herrera, the associate director of ASU's School of Politics and Global Studies.

Herrera said business owners in the area should not be too worried, as long as the city keeps moving forward with its growth plans.

"[City council members should] find someone who has a vision for the city that is probably consistent with the vision that they've already adopted," he explained.

There have been talks of Smith running for governor for some time, but he made his intentions known with a Facebook post that reads:

"I have a story that no one else can tell. I have an experience that no one else can offer. When I talk about economic development at a government level, I know how to do it - I've done it. When I talk about truly balancing budgets and shifting resources, and having to make tough policy decisions … I've done it as mayor. No one else can tell that story, and no one else has that experience."

The Republican primary election field already includes Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Treasurer Doug Ducey.

Others in the Republican nomination race include former Go Daddy legal counsel Christine Jones, state Sen. Al Melvin and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

The Republican primary winner will likely face Democrat Fred DuVal, a former Board of Regents member and a former gubernatorial aide, in the general election.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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