Sunday, June 13, 2010

Residency issues threaten candidacy of Republican in LD17

From the Arizona Capitol Times -
Sixteen challenges were filed in Maricopa County Superior Court against candidates’ nominating petitions, including allegations that Sen. John Huppenthal collected thousands of invalid signatures and that House candidate Augustus Shaw lives in wrong legislative district.


The challenge against Shaw, a Republican seeking a District 17 House seat, claims he is ineligble for office in that district because he actually lives in District 20. A private investigator hired by the law firm Perkins, Coie, Brown & Bain, which is closely associated with the Arizona Democratic Party, reported that during three days of surveillance he witnessed Shaw at his home in District 20, but never at the District 17 home where he lists as his address.

District 20 takes in Ahwatukee, west Chandler and southwest Tempe, while District 17 is comprised of north Tempe and south Scottsdale.
In the Cap Times article, Shaw went on to rationalize the "move" as done to help his autistic son. He claimed that the "move" has been in the works for nearly a year and that he has already moved in with his in-laws (the LD17 address listed on his paperwork).

In spite of Shaw's protestations, it appears that his "move" was a paperwork-only one, done to establish his residency in LD17.

According to the Arizona Guardian article on this topic, Shaw was observed walking his dog and going to stores in the neighborhood of his LD20 home, but was never at the LD17 address listed on his campaign paperwork.


This isn't exactly the first time that Shaw has been accused of being a little lax in his ability to follow the basic rules of professionalism or even simple honesty.

In 2006, he was reprimanded by a judge for overstepping the bounds of decorum (and fact!) in his communications with a homeowner/member in an HOA that he represented. More on Shaw's activities here, courtesy the Phoenix New Times.

In 2004, he ran for Tempe City Council. He gained access to the ballot then by persuading local Democratic activists to circulate his nominating petitions. After his petitions were completed, he changed his partisan registration to Republican.

Not exactly the sort of thing that endears a candidate to voters of any political persuasion - Shaw eventually lost to long-time Republican Hut Hutson in the (officially, anyway) non-partisan race.

By 2008 however, he had convinced the AZGOP of his R bonafides, winning election to the AZGOP's 1st Vice Chairman position.

Which brings us to something else that further strains the credibility of Mr. Shaw.

The bylaws of the AZGOP are a closely-held document (at least, they aren't available on the AZGOP's website or anywhere else that I could find online, while the Arizona Democratic Party's bylaws are available on the ADP's website), and could vary significantly from the ADP's, but it seems likely that there will be similarities between the bylaws of the organizations, at least in basic structure.

In the ADP, one must be a precinct committeeman (PC) before becoming a member of the State Committee, and be a member of the State Committee before becoming an officer of the State Committee.

If a PC moves from his/her precinct, they lose their PC slot, and if a state committee member moves from the district he/she was elected from, they lose their position on the state committee.

Augustus Shaw has claimed to do both, move from his original precinct (Tempe 60) and his legislative district (LD20).

Yet apparently, the AZGOP is convinced that he remains in good standing as a Republican PC from LD20, because he is still listed as the AZGOP's 1st Vice Chairman.

BTW - It's the practice in the ADP for a party officer to resign their position if they choose to run for public office, partly out of concern that the necessarily focused self-interest of a candidate could conflict with the broad duties of a party officer.

Apparently2, the AZGOP doesn't take issue with such potential conflicts of interest.

Anyway, the challenge to Shaw's candidacy is scheduled to be heard on Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Caveat to the above: The GOP's bylaws could be more flexible than the ADP's in this regard. If anyone has a .pdf copy of the most recent AZGOP bylaws, feel free to forward them to me. Thank you.


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