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 the 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 could not be reached for comment. But campaign spokesman Jason Rose said he doesn’t believe there is merit to the complaint.
“We don’t think a fair review of the law is going to result in anything other than a yawn and a dismissal of what the Democrats are charging,” Rose said.
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. “This is a disgusting ploy by the Democratic Party to remove a candidate that they know can beat their candidates. And they want to do it by trying to drag my poor family and my poor autistic son into a political arena.”
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.