Democrat Johnnie Robinson (CD 7) faces petition challenge

gavelThe first of the petition challenges has been filed this week. Democrat Johnnie Robinson, running for Congress in CD 7, barely filed the minimum number of signatures required.

It turns out that the signatures he did file are being questioned by Democratic voter Joe Murphy, who has endorsed Ruben Gallego in the Democratic primary for CD 7. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports CD7 challenge alleges massive signature forgery:

Johnnie Robinson submitted three signatures more than what was required to get him on the Democratic primary ballot in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District, but a challenge to Robinson’s candidacy filed today claims that at least 100 of the signatures he submitted were penned by the same person.

Four people who Robinson swore signed his petitions say the signature is not theirs, and are prepared to testify as much, the challenge says. The sheets that contain those signatures, along with several other sheets full of signatures, should be deemed invalid, the challenge contends, meaning Robinson would be booted from the ballot.

The challenge falls short of identifying who may have forged the signatures, only claiming that they were written by the same person. Each sheet of signatures requires the gatherer to sign an affidavit on the back, which swears that the signatures were collected according to state laws. 1,039 signatures were required to qualify for the ballot, and Robinson submitted 1,043. Robinson signed all of his nominating petitions.

A.R.S. 16-1020 states that signing petitions with anything other than one’s own name is a class 1 misdemeanor.

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Democratic CD7 voter Joe Murphy, who works for UFCW local 99, which has endorsed former state lawmaker Ruben Gallego, and Torres Consulting & Law Group attorney Jim Barton, filed the challenge. Both declined to comment further on it.

I expect to see more challenges filed today or tomorrow before the Wednesday filing deadline.

UPDATE: Arizona Capitol Times reports “Johnnie Robinson withdrew from the Democratic primary in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District, hours after a legal challenge to his campaign claimed that at least 100 of the signatures he submitted were penned by the same person.”

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