16 candidates face a challenge to their petitions

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I'm not absolutely certain, but I believe this may be a new state record for legal challenges to candidate petitions. This happens every election cycle, but with the passing of the 10-day challenge period on Thursday, the Arizona Capitol Times now reports that 16 candidates face a challenges to their petitions this week. Huppenthal, Shaw among 16 candidates targeted in petition challenges:

Sixteen challenges were filed in Maricopa County Superior Court against candidates’ nominating petitions, including allegations that Sen. John Huppenthal collected thousands of invalid signatures and that House candidate Augustus Shaw lives in wrong legislative district.

The Arizona Democratic Party is challenging Huppenthal’s petition in his run for superintendent of public instruction, alleging that all 11,053 of the signatures he filed are invalid because they were collected before he filed his official candidate committee. The challenge alleges that the signatures were all collected by Huppenthal’s exploratory committee.

Huppenthal and others were previously investigated by the Pima County Attorney's Office earlier this year on allegations that they had violated Arizona's resign-to-run law by running for another office before the last year of their term. The legal opinion of the Pima County Attorney effectively rendered the resign-to-run law unenforceable. This "GooGoo" (good government) reform is likely to be repealed by the next legislature because it is a law without any purpose or consequence.

The question presented in the instant case appears more problematic for Huppenthal. The statutes are pretty clear that one must file a candidate committee, as opposed to an exploratory committee, before one can begin collecting valid petition signatures. If the court was to interpret the statutory scheme to permit signatures to be collected during an exploratory committee phase and then "carried over" into a candidate committee once it is filed, the court would be erasing a clear distinction intended by the legislature in the statutory scheme. The court would be judicially rewriting the law to remove any distinction between an exploratory committee and candidate committee. I would argue this violates the rules of statutory construction. However, nothing surprises me anymore. We'll see what happens.

The challenge against Shaw, a Republican seeking a District 17 House seat, claims he is ineligble for office in that district because he actually lives in District 20. A private investigator hired by the law firm Perkins, Coie, Brown & Bain, which is closely associated with the Arizona Democratic Party, reported that during three days of surveillance he witnessed Shaw at his home in District 20, but never at the District 17 home where he lists as his address.

District 20 takes in Ahwatukee, west Chandler and southwest Tempe, while District 17 is comprised of north Tempe and south Scottsdale.

Shaw said he moved to his in-laws’ home in District 17 because he and his wife planned to move there for the benefit of their 6-year-old autistic son. They delayed the move because his wife wanted to keep their son near his school, where he attends a program for autistic children, but Shaw decided to move into his in-laws’ home in July 2009 to begin preparing for the family’s move, he said.

Shaw said he often spends his weekends at the District 20 home where his wife and children still live, but stays at his in-laws’ house during the week. He said his driver’s license, bank records, car payments and other documentation all list the District 17 house as his address. He said his family will join him in District 17 in the fall.

“I am a resident (of District 17), and it shouldn’t matter where my family lives,” Shaw said.

Mr. Shaw may want to familiarize himself with the concept of "domicile," the place where a man has his true, fixed and permanent home and principal establishment, and to which whenever he is absent he has the intention of returning. (Black's Law Dictionary). Many people own more than one home; but they only have one domicile. By his own admission, Mr. Shaw's "domicile" is the home he shares with his wife and family in District 20. His wife and family have a present future intention to move to the home in District 17 this fall — it is not presently the Shaw family domicile.

Two minor gubernatorial candidates were also challenged. Republican gubernatorial candidate Buz Mills challenged rival GOP candidate Tom Gordon, claiming the former lawmaker submitted dozens of invalid signatures from Coconino and Gila counties. Gordon subsequently withdrew from the race. And the Arizona Democratic Party alleged that more than half of Green Party candidate Larry Gist’s 2,980 signatures are invalid as well.

Perkins, Coie, Brown & Bain, which filed six challenges on behalf of the Democratic Party, also sought to remove a second Green Party candidate from the ballot. The firm alleged that at least 47 of the 70 signatures filed by Anthony Goshorn, who is running for a District 17 House seat, were invalid.

The Arizona Republican Party challenged the nominating petition for Manuel Cruz, the lone Democrat running for state mine inspector. The challenge alleges that Cruz is ineligible for the position because he does not meet the constitutional requirements that candidates have four years of experience in mining or another industry overseen by the mine inspector.

Other complaints are against:

Joseph Sweeney, Republican candidate for CD7: Rival Republican candidate Ruth McClung’s husband Michael filed a challenge against perennial Sweeney, alleging that 282 of his 577 signatures are invalid.

Anna Maria Brennan, Republican candidate for LD11 Senate: Republican Brad Williams alleged that 293 of Brennan’s 657 signatures are invalid.

William Wallace, Democratic candidate for LD26 House: District resident Francine Shacter alleged that 66 of Wallace’s 363 signatures are invalid.

Jose “Joe” Penalosa, Jr., Republican candidate for CD4: Rival Republican candidate Janet Contreras alleged that some of Penalosa’s signatures were illegally collected by convicted felons, and that 542 of his 693 signatures are invalid.

W. John Williamson, Democratic candidate for LD8 House: LD8 resident Craig Zirbel alleged that 42 of Williamson’s 369 signatures are invalid.

John Adam Kowalski, Republican candidate for LD6 House: Rival Republican candidate David Fitzgerald alleged that 587 of Kowalski’s 878 signatures are invalid, and that Kowalksi was not a registered Republican during the time he collected the signatures.

Sharon Spane, Democratic candidate for LD21 House: LD21 Republican Chairman Jerry Brooks alleged that 53 of Spane’s 409 signatures are invalid.

Scott Bergren, Republican candidate for LD21 House: District resident Jeff Laux alleged that 304 of Bergren’s 651 signatures are invalid. Bergren promptly dropped out of the race June 11.

Bob Thomas, Republican candidate for LD15 Senate: District resident Krista Pacion alleged that Thomas collected his 330 signatures before filing a campaign committee and that the signatures are therefore invalid.

Dave Ewoldt, independent candidate for LD28 Senate: Independent candidate Ted Downing argued that an undetermined number of Ewoldt’s signatures should be invalidated because of alleged discrepancies, such as signatories who had also signed other LD28 Senate candidates’ petitions, and that several of the petitions did not include Ewoldt’s address.

This last one is interesting only because I am aware the Democratic Party was examining Ted Downing's petitions as well, because he had switched his party registration from Democratic to Independent at the end of April and his candidate status on May 4. Apparently Downing had enough valid signatures after the switch.

0 responses to “16 candidates face a challenge to their petitions

  1. Tom Prezelski

    A Republican candidate is challenging Joe Sweeney’s petitions? Well, it is about damn time. Anyone who has witnessed Mr. Sweeney in action gathering signatures knows that his petitions are likely problematic.

    Old-timers remember that Sweeney used to run as a Democrat. This lasted until 1992, when a Democratic candidate got him knocked off the ballot for bad petitions. He has been running as a Republican ever since. Given that Sweeney’s signature-gathering methods have remained the same through the years, it seems odd that Republicans have not picked up on this and done the same until now. Republican statements that Sweeney was some sort of embarrassment rang a little hollow as they allowed him to remain on the ballot in the face of such obvious irregularities, and even to get the nomination on 2 occasions.

    Perhaps, now that every Republican in the state seems to openly express views on race which seem to echo Sweeney’s, they have decided that he has outlived his usefulness to them.