Republicans from Legislative District 10 selected their former district chairwoman and two other long-time precinct committee persons as possible replacements for former Rep. Doug Quelland, whose seat was declared vacant after the court upheld his removal from office.
Kimberly Yee, who is also running for the House in the primary, was selected after the first round of voting.
Henry GrosJean and Francine Romesburg became the second and third nominees, respectively, after several more rounds of voting.
Actually, Quelland was one of six people who were nominated during the two-hour election.
But he failed to make the cut after the third round.
While the Legislature is not in session, the possibility exists that lawmakers would be called back into special session this year depending on what voters decide on budget-related ballot measures in November and whether Congress extends a temporary higher rate of federal Medicaid funding.
This means Quelland’s replacement could be voting on important legislation before the new session begins.
Quelland was defiant when it was his time to speak, saying he did not commit any wrongdoing, he isn’t a quitter and that he plans to win in the primary and general election.
“Due process I have not been given,” he told his district mates.
Quelland has been fighting to keep his seat after the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission found last year that he violated campaign finance rules.
The commission in November ordered Quelland’s removal from office after finding he paid a consultant $15,000, in violation of rules for publicly funded candidates.
Quelland’s attorney asked the court in June to suspend a May ruling that affirmed the findings of the Clean Elections Commission that Quelland be removed from office. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Crane McClennen, however, denied that request on June 22.
It is now up to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to choose one of the three nominees to fill Quelland’s vacant District 10 House seat for the rest of the year. A meeting to appoint a replacement has not yet been scheduled.
Yee, who is Treasurer Dean Martin’s communications director, touted her capitol experience. Yee worked as a legislative staffer in Arizona for many years before joining the cabinet of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She also served former California Gov. Pete Wilson as a policy analyst to the state Board of Education.
“I know the process, the ins and outs of the process,” she said.
Romesburg said she supports S1070 and that she would work to fix the budget.
“Fix this budget one way or another and we need to go at it correctly,” she said.
GrosJean said he is no novice to the legislative process either, having successfully worked to pass two insurance-related measures.
Bill Adams, another candidate who is running for the primary, was also nominated, but he declined the nomination.
He didn’t want to have an unfair advantage over his competitors, he said.
“I’m going to do it the old-fashioned way,” he said.
Meanwhile, several state officials attended the hearing, including Sen. Linda Gray, who is from the district.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett showed up to talk about the budget. He explained how the state got into budget troubles by using Kleenex boxes, which represented blocks of spending or revenues.
GOP Chairman Randy Pullen, who organized the meeting, told his party mates that because of the gravity of the budget, there could be a special session.
And former congressman J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging U.S. Sen. John McCain, also spoke briefly during the meeting.