Only 2 Republican Candidates Left for 3 Corporation Commission Seats; Write-Ins?

1
584

In a stunning development tonight, the Arizona Supreme Court removed Kim Owens from the ballot for the Corporation Commission. This leaves the GOP with only two candidates for the three Commissioner seats up for election.

The four Justices* said that Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason erred in allowing Owens to resurrect 172 signatures that County Recorders had found to be invalid. The Justices said the evidence presented did not support the ruling.

“The only evidence offered by Owens to rehabilitate the signatures that were invalidated because the signer was not registered to vote was the “GOP Data Center” records. However, Owens failed to make the Data Center records available, nor were the records offered or received into evidence. Additionally, there was no testimony establishing that either the Data Center records or Owen’s testimony about the records constituted reliable, competent evidence for the court to consider. Accordingly, there was no reasonable evidence to support the trial court’s finding that the candidate rehabilitated a sufficient number of signatures to remain on the ballot.”

Judge Thomason had determined Owens had gathered 8 more valid signatures than the number needed to be placed on the August 4 primary ballot. The Supreme Court’s decision on the resurrection issue left Owens 164 short.

Owens had been challenged from the left and from the right, and her removal leaves the Republicans short of a full slate of candidates for the Corporation Commission. Only current Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson and candidate Eric Sloan – who survived an appeal two days ago – remain. Current Commissioner Boyd Dunn was removed by the Supreme Court yesterday, David Farnsworth withdrew his candidacy after being challenged, and Nick Myers was removed by a judge.

Persons interested in running as a write-in for the August 4 Republican primary election will have the next several weeks to file. The candidates who were removed from the ballot cannot try again as a write-in. A write-in will have to get at least the number of votes that they would have had to collect signatures; in this case, over 6,663.

The Democrats have a full slate of three candidates – Bill Mundell, Anna Tovar and Shea Stanfield – none of whom had their petitions challenged in court.

For more details and to read the trial judge and the Supreme Court’s Orders, please visit Arizona’s Law, where this article was first posted by Paul Weich.

*These expedited elections cases are decided by a panel of four of the seven Justices. This case was considered by Justice Gould, Justice Lopez, Justice Beene, and Justice Montgomery. (Justice Clint Bolick recused himself from being on the panel because Owens was represented by the attorneys who represented his wife in her challenge/appeal. However, we do not know if he would have been selected for the panel.)

1 COMMENT

  1. Lea Marquez Peterson is a long-time Republican fundraiser and a crony of Governor Doug Ducey who appointed her to the seat in 2019. She earlier lost her one election bid for Congress running against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in 2018. She has never won an election.

    Eric Sloan is a piece of work. The Arizona Capitol Times writes:

    Eric Sloan, a former Democrat who was fired from the Arizona Department of Gaming for singing slavery-related songs when he passed the desk of black co-workers, among other harassment claims.

    Sloan ran for the commission in 2018, but finished last of five candidates in the Republican primary. Sloan also chaired an independent expenditure committee that Arizona Public Service Co. used to funnel money to three Republican candidates in 2016. Part of the duties of the commission is to regulate APS and other monopoly utilities.

    It is possible that Republicans will try to run a write-in candidate, but that candidate would need to receive the same number of votes as the minimum number of signatures they required for the ballot. In this case, Republican candidates seeking statewide office needed 6,663 signatures, making it a much more difficult threshold to meet than, perhaps, a candidate running for the Legislature.

Leave a Reply