Arizona Lawmaker Wants Legislature To Choose Who Makes U.S. Senate Ballot

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer
Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 8:48am
Updated: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 9:13am

A freshman state lawmaker wants to decide who you get to choose from in future Congressional races.

After his first year serving in the Arizona House, Republican State Rep. Travis Grantham has drafted a proposal he said will hold U.S. senators more accountable to the state's needs.

Congress, he said, was initially designed so that "United States senators went to Washington to represent the state. They were a check and balance on the popularly elected House of Representatives."

However, after serving in 2016 as a representative at the state level, Grantham said he noticed a communication gap.

"I don't have any day-to-day, week-to-week, or, quite honestly, year-to-year contact with my U.S. Senator," he said. "I don't meet with them. I don't get to talk with them. And it's a problem because they're supposed to be our voice in Washington, D.C."

He insists his complaint has nothing to do with our current U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, although he indicated they've made choices he hasn't agreed with in the past.

Grantham has authored HCR 2022, a resolution that would harken back to elections before the 17th Amendment, when senators were chosen by state legislators and went to Washington beholden to state lawmakers.

Under his plan, Republicans and Democrats from both the state House and Senate would get together along party lines and nominate two people from each side. Voters in November would then get their choice from among those four. An Independent or fringe candidate would not make the cut, unless somehow given the blessing and nomination of partisan legislators.

Incumbents would be required to prove their worth another nomination every six years.

"There's a very good chance that person may not get the nomination if they did not work with the state," Grantham said.

To get the change he wants, Grantham needs to do more than convince his legislative colleagues to go along.

His proposal would amend the Arizona Constitution which requires voter ratification.

But Grantham said he thinks voters could be persuaded to see that the current system of direct nomination of senators does not always get them the best, and most responsive, senators.

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