What’s at stake in the 2020 election … the course of the next decade.

The Arizona Mirror reports, 138 apply for redistricting commission, including some notable names:

One hundred thirty-eight people applied to serve on the next Independent Redistricting Commission, which will determine the boundaries of Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts for the next decade.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments received applications from 55 Democrats and 44 Republicans, 38 independents and 1 Libertarian.

Because no more than 2 commissioners can be from the same political party, the pool of independents, along with the Libertarian, will provide the pool of candidates to serve as the all-important chair of the redistricting commission who acts as a tiebreaker if the Democratic and Republican members are deadlocked.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments must winnow the list down to 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 5 independents or others. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the state House of Representatives and Senate will each select one commissioner, and those four will select a fifth commissioner to serve as chairman.

The Arizona Constitution requires geographic diversity among the commissioners, and no more than 2 of the first four selected can reside in the same county. There are 89 applicants from Maricopa County and 28 from Pima County, along with 8 from Coconino County and 3 from Pinal and Yavapai counties. No other county has more than two applicants. No residents of Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Navajo, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties applied.

The total number of applicants for the IRC increased from 2010, when only 79 people sought seats on the redistricting commission. In 2000, the first year Arizona used an independent commission for redistricting, 311 people applied.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will meet on Sept. 17 to review applications and take public testimony on the candidates. People can also submit public comments regarding the applicants via email at jnc@courts.az.gov, or by mailing them to the commission’s offices. Comments cannot be submitted anonymously.

By early January, the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will narrow the list of applicants down to 25 people.

A number of notable people applied to serve on the redistricting commission. Among them are:

      • Christopher Bavasi, independent, Coconino County: Former Flagstaff mayor and city council member.
      • Cheryl Cage, Democrat, Pima County: Cage is the former chairwoman of the Pima County Democratic Party and was a candidate for the Arizona Senate in 2008 and 2010.
      • Ernest Calderon, Democrat, Maricopa County: Calderon is the former president of the Arizona Board of Regents. He is also a former member of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments.
      • Nick Dranias, independent, Maricopa County: Dranias is a former attorney with the conservative Goldwater Institute. [ABSOLUTELY NOT, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES!]
      • Louis Hoffman, Democrat, Maricopa County: Hoffman is the former chairman of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
      • Leezie Kim, independent, Maricopa County: Kim served as general counsel for Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, and later served under Napolitano as deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
      • Thomas Loquvam, independent, Maricopa County: Loquvam is general counsel and vice president for corporate services at the utility company EPCOR. He previously served as general counsel for Pinnacle West, the parent company of Arizona Public Service.
      • Randy Pullen, Republican, Coconino: Pullen is the former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. He ran for Phoenix mayor in 2007 and for state treasurer in 2014.
      • Ken Strobeck, Republican, Maricopa County: Strobeck is the former executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. He served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives before moving to Arizona.

The most contentious part of the selection process is likely to be the vetting of the independent candidates and the selection of the chair, a pivotal decision that could allow the Democrats or Republicans to seize effective control of the redistricting commission.

The critical vetting process will be the 38 independents, one of whom will become the chair of the Independent Redistricting Commission:

Dana C. Allmond (I) – Pima
Adam C. Anderson (I) – Maricopa
Christopher J. Bavasi (I) – Coconino
Sarah Brown Smallhouse (I) – Pima
Niccolo A. Campuzano (I) – Yavapai
Megan L. Carollo (I) – Maricopa
Michael A. Chihak (I) – Pima
Joseph V. Citelli (I) – Maricopa
Nicole M. Cullen (I) – Maricopa
David L. Curl (I) – Pima
Nicholas C. Dranias (I) – Maricopa
Eric J. Fischer (I) – Maricopa
Eric L. Gorsegner (I) – Maricopa
Michael S. Hammond (I) – Pima
David A. Hamra (I) – Pima
Daniel L. Hatch (I) – Maricopa
Mignonne D. Hollis (I) – Cochise
Leezie Kim (I) – Maricopa
Steven J. Krenzel (I) – Maricopa
Meredith K. Kupinski (I) – Pima
Thomas Loquvam (I) – Maricopa
Anders L. Lundin (I) – Maricopa
Patricia A. Mazzeo (I) – Maricopa
Lawrence C. Mohrweis (I) – Maricopa
Joseph D. Moore (I) – Maricopa
George L. Morgan, Jr. (I) – Maricopa
Steven S. Neil (I) – Maricopa
Curtis T. Nelson (I) – Maricopa
William Sandry (I) – Pinal
Erika Schupak Neuberg (I) – Maricopa
Leanne Serignese Titus (I) – Maricopa
Peggy Solis (I) – Pima
Gregory M. Teesdale (I) – Pima
Alec E. Thomson (I) – Maricopa
Chris Verrill (I) – Coconino
Shawn M. Watt (I) – Maricopa
Robert S. Wilson (I) – Coconino
Eric S. Zaharia (I) – Pima

I would strongly encourage Arizona Democratic Party organizations to get together and to vet these candidates NOW, and decide which of these independents should be supported as fair-minded and even-handed, and which independents should be opposed as a “Trojan horse” (e.g., Nick Dranias) by Democrats in public comments. Then encourage Democrats to submit public comments between now and the first meeting of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments on September 17.

If our readers have anything to share about a candidate, post it in the comments.

It is also critical to elect a Democratic controlled House and Senate in the Arizona legislature in November, for the first time since 1966.