Democrats in the House and Senate are calling for one of their own to step down amid allegations of domestic violence.
Rep. Daniel Patterson’s former live-in girlfriend and campaign manager was granted an order of protection against him on Friday, liberal blog Three Sonorans reported yesterday.
Perhaps in an attempt to avoid another drawn-out saga like the one after former Sen. Scott Bundgaard was faced with similar allegations, House Democrats acted swiftly, calling on their colleague to resign.
Two years ago, the Tucson Democrat’s then-wife lodged domestic violence accusations as part during divorce proceedings, but was never charged.
But House Majority Leader Chad Campbell said that, with the new accusations, it was time for Patterson to step down.
“The bottom line is, it’s a distraction from the real issues facing Arizona,” Campbell said.
Other House Democrats echoed Campbell’s concerns, saying that the new allegations suggested a pattern.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, was the first to call for Patterson’s resignation on Twitter. That was quickly followed with a written statement from Campbell. The Arizona Democratic Party and Senate Democratic leaders did the same.
“I do not call on a sitting Democratic elected official to resign lightly,” Arizona Democratic Party executive director Luis Heredia said in a statement. “However, I firmly believe that the voters of Southern Arizona deserve a representative who can serve them without distraction.”
Other Democrats joined the chorus, including House Minority Whip Anna Tovar and Sens. Steve Gallardo and Linda Lopez, who represents the same district as Patterson. Last year, Gallardo filed an ethics complaint against Bundgaard after the Peoria Republican pleaded no contest to a February 2011 incident in which he assaulted his girlfriend in a fight on the side of a Phoenix freeway.
Patterson did not attend legislative proceedings today, and he has so far been defiant in resisting the calls for him to step down. He has not returned messages left with him, but he did use his Twitter account this afternoon to dismiss the allegations against him as “lies from (a) person (with) bad mental problems & violent criminal history trying to blackmail me” and said he would not resign.
But House Democrats intend to oust Patterson one way or another. Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, circulated an ethics complaint among her colleagues on the floor this afternoon during the floor session, and said she was going to be filing it before the end of the day.