It happens over and over, and yet I’m still always struck at how the “domino effect” shows up in politics.
I doubt freshman Sen. Don Shooter, a Yuma Republican, would have thought back in February, when news first surfaced of the now-infamous roadside incident between Sen. Scott Bundgaard and his then-girlfriend, that there would have been some good fortune coming his way because of it.
Alas, Bundgaard, who was then Senate Majority Leader, soon was voted out his leadership role, leaving a vacuum. Veteran Sen. Andy Biggs, a Phoenix Republican, took the spot, which meant he would have to surrender his position as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Biggs finished the legislative session serving in both posts, but was clear all along that he wouldn’t be heading the budget panel when the 2012 session rolled around.
The new vacuum left there was filled this past week, when embattled Senate President Russell Pearce surprised the Capitol community with the announcement that he had appointed Shooter to head up Appropriations.
Often, freshman lawmakers are lucky to even serve on the Appropriations Committee so they can learn how the state budget gets crafted, as those hands-in-the-dough budget decisions are almost always steered by much more seasoned senators. Pearce justified his pick by pointing to Shooter’s tea party moorings, but there were certainly others who wanted the role and who were arguably more qualified.
So, of course, the chatter around the Capitol has since included conjecture about some alternative reason for Pearce’s pick. Probably the most interesting guess, however unverifiable at this point, is that Shooter has the ability to help Pearce during the quickly heating recall election he’s embroiled in.
That situation will undoubtedly be closely scrutinized, and while there’s no telling now how it will play out, what can be predicted is that each domino will knock down another.