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Candidate challenges at-a-glance

Here are the results, and pending appeals, of petition challenges against congressional, statewide and legislative candidates — and one justice of the peace candidate.

RELATED: Complaints force 9 from ballot


Jose “Joe” Penalosa, Jr., Republican candidate for CD4: Rival Republican candidate Janet Contreras alleged that some of Penalosa’s signatures were illegally collected by a convicted felon, and that 542 of his 693 signatures are invalid. Contreras also argued that Penalosa doesn’t reside within the boundaries of the district and was therefore unqualified to run for the U.S. House in that district. The court ruled that Penalosa met the constitutional requirements to run for Congress and also found that his circulator does not have a felony conviction. Penalosa stays on the ballot.

Joseph Sweeney, Republican candidate for CD7: Rival Republican candidate Ruth McClung’s husband, Michael, filed a challenge against perennial candidate Sweeney, alleging that 282 of his 577 signatures were invalid. The court denied the plaintiff’s complaint to invalidate Sweeney’s nominating petition, and he stays on the ballot.


Tom Gordon, a Republican who is running for governor: Buz Mills challenged his petition, claiming the former lawmaker submitted dozens of invalid signatures from Coconino and Gila counties. Gordon subsequently withdrew from the race.

Larry Gist, a Green Party candidate who is running for governor: The Arizona Democratic Party alleged that more than half of his 2,980 signatures were invalid. The party withdrew the complaint.

Sen. John Huppenthal, Republican candidate for superintendent of public instruction: His petition was challenged on grounds that the 11,053 signatures he submitted were invalid because they were collected under an exploratory and not an official campaign committee. The complaint was dismissed by the court, but the plaintiffs are appealing the case.

Manuel Cruz, Democratic candidate for mine inspector: The petition challenge questioned Cruz’s work credentials and alleged that he didn’t satisfy the law’s minimum requirements to run for the office. The complaint was withdrawn.


Bob Thomas, Republican candidate for LD15 Senate: District resident Krista Pacion alleged that Thomas collected his 330 signatures before filing a campaign committee and that the signatures were therefore invalid. The complaint was dismissed, but the plaintiffs are appealing the case.

Dave Ewoldt, independent candidate for LD28 Senate: Independent candidate Ted Downing argued that an undetermined number of Ewoldt’s signatures should be invalidated because of alleged discrepancies, such as signatories who had also signed other LD28 Senate candidates’ petitions, and that several of the petitions did not include Ewoldt’s address. The court ruled in favor of Ewoldt, who stays on the ballot.

Anthony “Grandpa” Goshorn, a Green candidate for LD17 House: According to the complaint, many of the signatures in question were invalid because the petitioners were not registered voters in the district or were from other parties. Goshorn dropped out of the race.

W. John Williamson, a Democrat seeking a House seat in LD8: According to the complaint, nearly half of the signatures in question came from people who were not registered voters. Other petitioners did not reside in the district. Williamson withdrew from the race.

Anna Maria Brennan, Republican candidate for LD11 Senate: Republican Brad Williams alleged that 293 of Brennan’s 657 signatures are invalid. Brennan dropped out of the race.

William Wallace, Democratic candidate for LD26 House: District resident Francine Shacter alleged that 66 of Wallace’s 363 signatures were invalid. Wallace withdrew from the race.

John Adam Kowalski, Republican candidate for LD6 House: Rival Republican candidate David Fitzgerald alleged that 587 of Kowalski’s 878 signatures were invalid, and that Kowalski was not a registered Republican during the time he collected the signatures. The court said the only requirement in statute to become a partisan candidate is to be a member of a particular political party at the time the person files nomination papers. The court decided to keep Kowalski on the ballot.

Sharon Spane, Democratic candidate for LD21 House: LD21 Republican Chairman Jerry Brooks alleged that 53 of Spane’s 409 signatures were invalid. The court ruled against Spane, who was removed from the ballot.

Scott Bergren, Republican candidate for LD21 House: District resident Jeff Laux alleged that 304 of Bergren’s 651 signatures were invalid. Bergren dropped out of the race.

Augustus Shaw, a Republican candidate for LD17 House: The complaint alleged that he was ineligible to run because he doesn’t live in the district. The court ruled against Shaw and removed him from the ballot.


Sen. Ken Cheuvront, a Democrat for justice of the peace: The challenge argued that his name shouldn’t appear on the ballot because he collected signatures using the wrong petition form. A judge ruled to strike his name from the ballot. Cheuvront’s attorney told the Arizona Capitol Times on June 22 that he would not appeal the ruling.


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