Arizona’s Republican leadership just got another black-eye, in their relentless attempts to keep Libertarian candidate for Governor, Barry Hess, off of the ballot. In a series of shady middle-of-the-night dealings last year, Republican leaders pushed HB 2305 to the Governor’s desk with exclusively Republican support; to make it almost impossible for Libertarian candidates to get on the ballot. In many instances, HB2305 required Libertarian candidates to gather more signatures for their nomination than there were members of the Libertarian party.
In September of last year, Hess led the largest and most diverse coalition in Arizona history to send HB2305 to the ballot, instead–by Citizen’s Referendum. It was the first successful such effort in almost 30 years, with almost as many attempts. Republicans were set back on their heels and scrambled to repeal their own legislation in an effort to hide the issue from the Voters in November.
Last week, the GOP funded a challenge to 37 of Hess’s nominating signatures which would have left him 5 short of the required number needed to appear on the ballot to represent the Libertarian Party. Hess’ legal teams immediately found no less than 12 of the disputed signatures were in fact valid, and today, the County Recorders weighed in to verify 20 of the disputed signatures as valid. The suit was dismissed.
Hess commented, “We were never concerned about the numbers not being there, but now we’re concerned about the obvious frivolousness of the challenge, and the potential of fraud on the Court having been committed by only identifying the ‘throw away’ member of their club who agreed to be the Plaintiff; and not the real party behind the scheme.
It seems the goal is to shield GOP candidates from having to actually address the issues, and defend their positions on the campaign trail. Maybe the problem is my polling ahead of most of their candidates; whatever the case they must have wanted me off the ballot pretty badly to put up big money for a frivolous suit. What surprises me the most is that Snell & Wilmer would lend their credibility to these grade-school attempts to avoid having to compete for elected office