Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, August 31, 2015

About that upcoming LD26 Senate vacancy

So, the gossip mongers at the Yellow Sheet are, predictably at it again. Just as predictably, they don't really have the story correct. Today, they reported,
[Rep. Juan] Mendez confirmed to our reporter late Friday that he wants the appointment to replace [Sen. Ed] Ableser, and added that, even if he doesn’t get it, he plans to run for the LD26 Senate seat next year. [Rep. Andrew] Sherwood is also interested in getting appointed.
This is all well and good... BUT, seeking to stir up controversy where there wasn't one before, our good friends at the YS portray Juan as doing a bit of chest thumping.
Mendez said if Sherwood gets appointed to the seat, it wouldn’t deter him from running, and he would be willing to challenge his seatmate in a primary.
David Lucier, a US Army Special Forces veteran who now runs Arizona Veterans and Military Leadership Alliance, confirmed that he is also interested in the appointment. Likewise, LD26 Dem chair Samantha Pstross, told our reporter via email that she, too, is interested, as is Celeste Plumlee, a PC in the district.
Kristin Gwinn, who was among the nominees when Mendez was almost appointed to the seat in 2012, said she now works for the Tempe City Council and is not interested in an appointment. Phil Amorosi, who ran for a House seat in 2002 and is now running for Tempe City Council, also said he isn’t going to seek the appointment.
One source told our reporter to look to the losers of the Tempe City Council races in March for possible appointment seekers. [Huh?]
WTF? This one was EASY for YS to fact check, but they apparently couldn't bother. The 2014 Tempe City Council election took place in August. A runoff, if necessary would have coincided with the November general election. IF YS was referring to the March 2016 Tempe council election, filling the vacant senate seat will be accomplished, barring any unforeseen catastrophe, well before March. IF either Juan or Andrew get the appointment in October, the process repeats to fill the House vacancy that would then occur. Again, well before March 2016.

The good folks at the YS would also easily be able to determine, if they meant the unsuccessful 2014 Tempe Council candidates, that only one of them, Ernesto Fonseca, is at all active with LD26 Democrats. He may or may not be interested in appointment to the legislature, [apparently Ernesto lives in LD18] but he also is gearing up to run again for the Tempe Council. My hunch is that Fonseca is more interested in municipal concerns, than the legislature. It's extremely unlikely Shana Ellis, a council incumbent who would have had to stand for the runoff in November 2014 in order to win reelection, will seek appointment to the senate. She's not a familiar face at LD meetings.
Another source said a House appointment would likely draw a dozen or more hopefuls, but speculated that a Senate primary between Sherwood and Mendez could be detrimental for the party, as the district doesn’t have a wealth of experience waiting in the wings for two the House positions.
That statement lacks coherence. A primary between Mendez and Sherwood has not a damn thing to do with whether "the district has a wealth of experience waiting in the wings." Regardless, it is extremely unlikely the two incumbent Representatives would challenge each other in a senate primary.

Andrew did tell me that he is, indeed, interested in the appointment to the senate, but there are huge advantages to him maintaining his committee assignments in the House. Currently, he serves on Appropriations and Ways & Means, high profile committees that deal with key legislation every session.
Republicans would have an uphill battle in the district, however, as Democrats currently hold a five-percentage-point registration lead in the district. In the last election, both Sherwood and Mendez netted about 13,500 votes, while single-shot Republican candidate James Roy racked up less than 11,100 votes.
While the good folks at the YS and Arizona Capitol Times are (always) champing at the bit to break the latest gossip, in this case about the prospective LD26 senate vacancy, we're still roughly six weeks away from the real action. The selection, by precinct committeepersons, of the three names to send to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors likely won't occur until the second Tuesday in October.

One never knows when another high-profile name, with intimate knowledge of the workings of the legislature, might throw his or her name in the hat. And we (LD26 Democrats) DO have a number of bright young people, not quite 25-years old at the moment, who will eventually make great candidates.

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By the way, it appears the Diane Douglas recall may officially begin in the morning.

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