Arizona has a tough Resign to Run law. ARS Sec. 38-296 says that an incumbent shall be deemed to have offered himself for election to an office in violation of the resign to run law if he makes "a formal public declaration of candidacy for such office". If an elected official "offers himself" while not in the last year of his current term, he is deemed to have resigned from office.
That's why if you talk to an elected official who is widely expected to run for a higher office, he will invariably say that he's "seriously considering it," or he's "exploring his options." I recently emailed an elected official and asked him about rumors that he was running for a higher office. Here was his response.
"Yes, I am still considering the race. I cannot say anything definite until January."
That's pretty clear, but well within the law.
Occasionally however a politician can let his guard down in front of a friendly crowd. Here's an audio tape of Attorney General Terry Goddard in front of a group of Democrats in west Phoenix. Fast forward to 1 minute and 15 seconds and you will hear an inaudible question about his future plans, followed by a very clear answer.
"I intend to run for Governor." At that point, the crowd goes wild.
While we might quibble about "I intend to run" verses "I am running," it seems like a distinction without a difference. There is no equivocation. He's basically saying that he's a candidate but that he hasn't started a formal campaign yet.
That's a clear violation of the law. Now here's the interesting part. The law does not REQUIRE Goddard to resign after his declaration. The law says that he HAS resigned when he makes the declaration.
Maybe that fancy taxpayer-funded publicity brochure should say "I used to work for you!"