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Shaw disqualified in District 17 over residency

A judge scratched legislative candidate Augustus Shaw’s name from the ballot, ruling that he is not qualified to run for a District 17 House seat because he is not actually a resident of the district.

Shaw said he moved into his in-laws’ home in District 17 and officially changed his address while he prepared to move his wife and children into the district. But his wife stayed behind at their home in District 20 to keep their son close to the school where he attended a special program for autistic children, he said.

But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Edward Burke ruled against him on June 18 based on the testimony of his father-in-law and a report by private investigator hired to determine his residency.

Shaw’s father-in-law, Peter Bergsneider, testified during a June 17 hearing that he considered Shaw a resident of his home, but that Shaw only spent a couple nights a week at the house and moved in “probably a couple of weeks” before deciding to run for the seat.

“The court finds that Shaw is a resident of the District 20 house and not a qualified elector in District 17,” Burke wrote in his ruling.

Shaw declined to comment on the ruling.

The challenge to Shaw’s petition signatures was based on the findings of a private investigator hired by Perkins, Coie, Brown & Bain, a law firm closely associated with the Arizona Democratic Party. The investigator reported that he observed Shaw at the District 20 house for three days, but never saw him at the District 17 house during that period. Shaw said he spent most weeknights at his in-laws’ house but spent the weekends with his wife and children at the District 20 house.

Shaw’s disqualification from the ballot leaves just one Republican candidate, Donald Hawker, running for the House in District 17.

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

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