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Bundgaard skips floor action, missing numerous votes

Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard's seat remained empty Wednesday through nearly two dozen floor votes. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard's seat remained empty Wednesday through about two dozen floor votes. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

On any other day, Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard’s absence on the floor on Wednesday would have barely been noticed.

After all, the Peoria Republican is not the first legislator to miss votes this session, and he won’t be the last.

In fact, he wasn’t the only lawmaker who missed several votes today.

Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, also skipped the votes on about a dozen bills.

But given Bundgaard’s physical altercation with his then-girlfriend less than two weeks ago and the ensuing political drama this week, after some members of his caucus called for his resignation as a Republican leader, his decision to skip floor and miss two dozen votes was very conspicuous.

Prior to the floor session, he told reporters he would speak to them after the session ended and answer questions about what he told his colleagues yesterday in a closed-door meeting. During that meeting, several Republicans called for him to step down as leader, but they ultimately decided to delay a vote on removing him until more information about the Feb. 25 domestic violence incident is available.

However, after he registered his attendance, Bundgaard left the floor and did not return. His legislative assistant told Arizona Capitol Times he had left the building. He did not return messages left on his cell phone and with his legislative office.

“I certainly think it’s important for the leader of each party to be here as much as they can,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, adding that he, too, has missed some votes. “I don’t know what his reasons for not being here are, but I can tell you that what’s going on is a serious distraction to the business that should be taking place in this chamber.”

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