Jean Cheuvront-McDermott won’t be the spoiler in an intraparty fight over House seats in Legislative District 24.
A judge today removed Cheuvront-McDermott from the ballot, saying she failed to list her legal name on nominating petitions.
The ruling is good news for Reps. Chad Campbell and Lela Alston, the incumbents who would have been running against Cheuvront-McDermott in the district’s Democratic primary. Democrat Tom Nerini also is running.
Campbell, the House minority leader, has said Cheuvront-McDermott was attempting to use the “Cheuvront” name for a political edge. Her son, Ken Cheuvront, is a former state senator.
Campbell said he thought the ruling was just.
“I’m no legal expert, but I don’t think you can just pick a name and run with it for political advantage in this state,” Campbell said. “If you can run under whatever name you want, I’m going to run as Chad Goldwater Babbitt Campbell.”
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson dismissed the argument that “Cheuvront” is a nickname, as Cheuvront-McDermott’s attorney, Kory Langhofer, argued in court on June 15. In some cases, nicknames are legally allowed to appear on the ballot.
Whether she considers it a nickname or not, she listed Cheuvront-McDermott as her surname which, legally, it is not. Her legal name is Lois Jean McDermott.
“The court finds that on her nomination paper, defendant listed her surname … as ‘Cheuvront-McDermott.’ It is undisputed that ‘Cheuvront-McDermott’ is not defendant’s surname, even though she might be known to others as ‘Ms. Cheuvront’ or ‘Ms. Cheuvront-McDermott,’” the judge wrote.
“Assuming without deciding that ‘Cheuvront’ is in fact defendant’s nickname, her assertion would have more merit had she listed her surname as ‘McDermott’ and her given name and nickname as ‘Jean Cheuvront,’” Anderson continued.
Cheuvront-McDermott said she intended to consult with her attorney about filing an appeal or other actions she could take.
“I’m not going to let this go away. This is ridiculous,” she said. “In this day and age, I think this is very sexist for a woman not to be able to use both names that she’s gone by for all these years.”
The ruling will probably not be the last time Campbell and a Cheuvront disagree in this election.
Campbell has alleged that Cheuvront-McDermott’s candidacy was orchestrated by her son, Ken, to get back at Campbell for not endorsing him in the LD24 Senate race.
Instead, Campbell is backing Rep. Katie Hobbs in the Senate primary against Cheuvront. Campbell, Hobbs and Alston are running as a slate in the central Phoenix district.
An activist named Bahney Dedolph filed the ballot challenge. Her attorney, Andrew Gordon, said that he was pleased with the ruling.
“This was not an inadvertent technical oversight, this was a strategic political decision, and you can’t play that way,” he said. “They made a political calculation, and they lost.”