If Republicans go along with House Speaker Andy Tobin’s plan to force a special election that would seek to change the state’s legislative and congressional maps, it will cost Arizona more than $8 million.
Tobin introduced a handful of measures Thursday that would put new maps drawn privately by the Paulden Republican and House staffer John Mills to a statewide special election on May 15.
The effort would seek voter approval for the maps, instead of those approved by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which were lambasted by GOP leaders for months as being drawn to favor Democrats.
The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office today confirmed a statewide special election would cost $8.3 million.
A previous proposal to hold a special election on Feb. 28, the day of Arizona’s presidential preference election, would have cost about $4 million less because the state was already printing ballots for Republican voters.
“Spending $8 million isn’t exactly my idea of trying to save money, however, (compared to) the costs going back to the spending habits of the Democrat years running the budget that cost us of billions of dollars, this is a very small contribution,” Tobin said.
Democrats were quick to seize on the costs of a special election they say is intended to usurp the work of the volunteer panel that created the maps.
“It’s a complete waste of $8 million. Just another waste of taxpayer dollars by the majority party and Mr. Tobin,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, who predicted that voters would reject Tobin’s maps.
Tobin said he will propose that “overages” from the state’s Clean Elections Commission to pay for it.
Arizona’s Clean Election Commission recently made a $10 million deposit to the state’s General Fund, said Executive Director Todd Lang, who added he has not spoken with Tobin about the plan to pay for the election.
“I’m surprised to hear that that is his funding source,” Lang said. “I don’t know what he has in mind. But our transfer (of money) goes to the General Fund.”
Reporter Jeremy Duda contributed to this report