Friday, June 05, 2009

Candidate Huppenthal should resign from Senate

Huppenthal apparently getting signatures outside AZ capitol, April 09.

PHOENIX -- I heard this yesterday and now some important news is breaking today due to good reporting by Amanda Soares at the Arizona Guardian, a solid news source from the capitol.

It appears Sen. John Huppenthal (R-LD20-Chandler) has been collecting signatures for his campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction, seemingly in violation of state election law.

Experts say Arizona law prohibits an elected official from collecting signatures on nominating petitions for a different position while still in office.

Huppenthal told the Guardian that he has been collecting signatures for the petitions. But the veteran lawmaker said he did not think that was against Arizona's "resign to run" statute.

Arizona elections law experts seem to disagree.

Good luck, John, in your race, but you should probably now resign from the Senate.

3 comments:

Martyr Mama said...

hope someone got a screen shot of that photo....

Freedom said...

The Arizona Guardian story you referenced was in error, and the Guardian has admitted and corrected the error.

The Arizona Capitol Times on June 8, 2009 reported on the story:

Sen. John Huppenthal says he has no intention of resigning after an online publication accused him of violating the state's resign-to-run law by collecting nominating petition signatures for another elected post.

The issue was raised by the Arizona Guardian, an online political news publication, which reported June 5 that state law prohibits elected officials from collecting signatures for another elected office.

However, Arizona's resign-to-run law doesn't expressly state that. The law, which was created more than 25 years ago, states that an elected official must be in the final year of his or her term before becoming a candidate for another office. If not, the official is forced to resign.

Statute says an official runs afoul of the law and "shall be deemed to have offered himself for nomination or election...upon the filing of a nomination paper...or formal public declaration of candidacy."

"I don't think there's much gray area about this," Huppenthal said.

The Chandler Republican is exploring a bid for state Superintendent of Public Instruction in next year's election and said he and other volunteers have been gathering signatures on nominating petitions for weeks.

Huppenthal said he sought legal advice before gathering signatures and was told by his attorney that an Attorney General's opinion from 1993 allows him to solicit signatures in advance of actually becoming a candidate.

"...(A)s long as an incumbent's conduct and statements do not constitute a formal declaration of candidacy and he does not file a nomination paper, he has not violated (the law)," Attorney General Grant Woods wrote.

The legal opinion was requested by then-Secretary of State Richard Mahoney, and largely focused on whether an exploratory committee would force an elected official to resign from office.

Huppenthal said he has taken extreme caution to let people know his campaign is merely exploratory.

"I've said the words, ‘I'm exploring,' 8,000 times. I say it in every breath," he said.

DRP said...

'Freedom' -- There was no 'error' or 'correction'. This is all the Guardian has said: **** Note: An earlier version of this story should have made clear that election law experts think Huppenthal is running afoul of state law by collecting signatures on nominating petitions. The law itself is unclear on whether collecting signatures would be in violation, although it states that filing petitions is against the resign to run law.