- Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield said Friday he will not run for a third term despite winning a lawsuit before the state Supreme Court last year that affirmed his right to do so.

Maxfield offered no explanation in making the announcement to about a dozen people in the state Capitol. He said only that in retirement he plans to focus on the “love of my life,” referring to his wife, Gayla, who stood quietly next to him during his brief speech.

Maxfield said afterward he was thinking about running as recently as last week. Even Gov. Matt Mead said he didn’t know about Maxfield’s decision until shortly before the announcement.

“I was hoping and planning that he was going to run again, but understand his decision,” said Mead, a fellow Republican.

Maxfield, 69, was elected secretary of state in 2006 and 2010. He previously served two terms as state auditor and directed the state commerce department from 1989-1994.

He was a YMCA director in Casper and directed the state recreation commission in the 1980s.

In 2011, Maxfield sued the state to contest term limits for secretary of state, state auditor, state superintendent of public instruction and state treasurer.

Wyoming voters approved term limits for all statewide offices and the Legislature by initiative in 1992. In 2004, the Wyoming Supreme Court overturned term limits for state legislators.

Last year, the state high court sided with Maxfield in a ruling that applied to four of the five statewide elected officials, with the exception of the governor. Maxfield, whose duties as secretary of state include overseeing elections, said he sued to establish consistency in Wyoming’s election rules.

“Being the chief election officer for the state - having it on the books, in the election guides - it was my duty to get rid of it,” he said.

Yet his interest in a third term was widely presumed, even though more than 27 years have passed since a Wyoming statewide official has served more than two. Gov. Ed Herschler served three, from 1975-1987, and Secretary of State Thyra Thomson six, from 1963-1987.

Maxfield said his achievements as secretary of state have included fighting business fraud and making Wyoming less welcoming to businesses that are difficult for authorities to track and investigate because they exist with relatively little state documentation.

“No longer is Wyoming seen as a refuge for shell corporations. I’m proud of that. Our state’s good name is back,” he said.

He said he intends to complete his second term, which ends in January.

So far, no Democrats or Republicans are running for secretary of state this year, only Jennifer Young, state chairwoman of the Constitution Party.

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