To comply with Wednesday's ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court to add two more Republicans to the list of those eligible to become Independent Redistricting Commissioners, the screening panel met today at 11:30am.
As expected, two Republican panel members (Mick Rusing from Tucson, and Doug Cole who has been a GOP operative in Phoenix for many years) tried to get Christopher Gleason, who is closely tied to Tea Party GOP Congressional candidate Jesse Kelly added to the list. However, Tucson Democrat John Leavitt objected, citing Gleason's involvement with a group called Conservatives for Congress in Tucson that ran attack ads against Gabby Giffords in the run up to the 2010 general election. Gleason's application cites his involvement with that group.
The panel declined to select Gleason for one of the open spots.
Instead, the panel selected Gilbert attorney Chrystal Russell and Tucsonan Richard Stertz.
Mr. Stertz, however, is likely also closely tied to Jesse Kelly but his application and interview (on Dec 8) seemed to indicate a temperament more conducive to group decision making. Mr. Stertz is currently CEO of 4-Tucson/Vision 360. Read more about Mr. Stertz's organization on the Tucson Citizen website.
The next step in the process is for Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams to make his selection. He has until January 31 to do so.