A Republican contender in Legislative District 13 is appealing a lower court ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court that former lawmaker Don Shooter can stay on the ballot.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz ruled June 15 that Shooter, who was expelled from the Arizona House of Representatives in February for sexually harassing women, meets the residency requirements to run for the state Senate in LD13.
Brent Backus, one of Shooter’s opponents in the August 28 primary, claimed that Shooter doesn’t reside in Yuma County, where Shooter declared his primary residence. Lawmakers are required to reside in the county they are running in for at least one year prior to the election, according to a constitutional provision.
Tim LaSota, an attorney for Backus, appealed the judge’s determination that Shooter always intended to return to Yuma, even though Shooter’s voter registration was changed to Maricopa County and Shooter himself testified that he spends roughly two-thirds of his time at a home in Phoenix with his wife, Susan Shooter.
The appeal goes directly to the Arizona Supreme Court, which is required to hear election-related appeals.
Shooter testified he never changed his voter registration, had no idea how the change occurred, and that he didn’t know the power had been turned off at his Yuma condo.
“Yuma’s been good to me,” Shooter said in court on June 14. “It’s my home. I’ve spent considerable time and effort and money to continue that relationship. … I’m spending a lot of money right now to be a part of Yuma. It would be real easy to walk away. It’s a little irritating.”
LaSota previously told the Arizona Capitol Times that if the ruling stands, it would set a terrible precedent.
“The qualification for running for office are that you rent an apartment in the district you want to run from. You don’t even need power,” he said. “I don’t think that’s what the voters of the state had in mind when they passed the requirement that politicians have residency in the district they run from.”