Organization Formed For Possible Recall Of Arizona Rep. Stringer

By Claire Caulfield
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 6:18pm
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 1:03pm
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Rep. David Stringer in June 2018 explaining his comments about race and immigration to a group of African-Americans brought together by the Rev. Jarrett Maupin.

A new political organization is preparing to recall Arizona House Rep. David Stringer.

The House Ethics Committee is currently investigating the Prescott Republican for statements he made about race and immigration as well as the recent disclosure that he was arrested in 1983 for sex offenses, including child pornography.

If the committee finds Stringer violated House rules, including bringing disrepute onto the Legislature, they can only make a recommendation, and it would be up to the full House to vote on his membership.

So Cave Creek Democrat Chris Hanlon filed the necessary papers with the Secretary of State's Office so his new political organization, Arizona Deserves Better, can begin collecting and spending money.

Hanlon said Arizona Deserves Better has members who live in the Prescott Republican's legislative district who are from both parties as well as political independents.

But Hanlon told Capitol Media Services that, for the moment, he's adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

“We're watching the House Ethics Committee very closely,'' he said.  

Hanlon said members of his group are willing to let that process play out — but only for so long.

“If action is not forthcoming in a timely way, we will act,'' he said, including a recall.

It takes the signatures of 25 percent of those who voted in the last election to force a special election. After considering the fact that voters in Legislative District 1 cast ballots for two representatives, the Secretary of State's Office figures it would take 24,990 valid signatures on petitions to force an election.

Given the normal rate of bad signatures, a more realistic goal would be close to 32,500.

Recall backers have just 120 days from the time they actually start circulating petitions to reach that goal. That means gathering an average of about 270 signatures a day, seven days a week.

Even if they get the signatures, all that does is set up a special election in which Stringer's name is automatically on the ballot.

There was no immediate response from Stringer.

To date the only successful legislative recall was of Senate President Russell Pearce in 2011.

Hanlon declined to say whether he voted for Stringer last year. Stringer and Rep. Noel Campbell — also a Republican from Prescott in Legislative District 1 — outpolled the two Democratic contenders by margins of better than 2-1.

The most recent voter registration statistics show there are more than 74,000 Republicans, about 27,000 Democrats and close to 47,000 political independents in the district.

But Hanlon said that's not the issue.

“Many, many people in this district did vote for Mr. Stringer,'' he said, saying that would have had second thoughts had they known about the criminal record and the child pornography arrest.

“I think withholding that information from the voters of LD 1 constitutes a massive act of deception on Mr. Stringer's part, twice,'' referring to both his first election in 2016 and his reelection last year. “I think voters in this district, of both parties, would like another chance.''

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