Some of you have signed nominating petitions for one John Huppenthal for next year's race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Under normal circumstances, a voter can sign the petitions of only one candidate per office. As such, normally you wouldn't be allowed to sign nominating petitions for Margaret Dugan, Mary Lou Taylor, or Gary Nine, the declared candidates for the Republican nomination next year. (State Rep. Rich Crandall is rumored to be interested in the race as well, but has not formally announced his candidacy.)
Under the laws of Arizona and the rules from the Arizona Secretary of State, a candidate must form a committee (file paperwork with the state formally declaring the candidate's interest in a particular office).
From the Secretary of State's candidate handbook (page 29 of the .pdf) (emphasis mine) -
4. Statement of Organization OR $500 Threshold Exemption Statement.
A Statement of Organization registering the candidate’s campaign committee OR a $500 Threshold Exemption Statement must be filed before making any expenditures, accepting any contributions, distributing any campaign literature or circulating any petitions. If the candidate has an exploratory committee open at the time of filing, then the candidate, chairman and treasurer must file an amended Statement of Organization to change the committee to a candidate’s campaign committee.
So far, Huppenthal has only formed an "exploratory" committee - filer ID 201000065, formed and last amended on March 16, 2009. As such, any signatures he has collected to date are invalid.
While there is some discussion going around about whether or not Huppenthal's signature collecting activities mean that he is now an active candidate under Arizona's "resign-to-run" laws and must now resign his seat in the legislature, this much is clear -
Whether or not he actually has to resign from office immediately, he will have to redo his petitions completely. All he's accomplished so far is to put together a list of folks to hit up for donations...once he gets around to forming an actual candidate campaign committee.
So take heart, loyal Republicans. If this dust-up, or perhaps the court hearing for his assault case later this month, causes you to feel a little "buyer's remorse," you have the option of rebuffing Huppenthal when he comes calling again and signing the nominating petitions for another candidate whose deportment and professionalism is more to your liking.
Just trying to help,
Craig at Random Musings