Precinct committeemen: Flexing clout when lawmakers leave

Bill Bercu, chairman of Legislative District 21 Democrats, calls a meeting of precinct committeemen to order on May 23. /Photo by Hank Stephenson/Arizona Capitol Times

By Rachel Leingang | Arizona Capitol Times

Precinct committeemen, the party faithful who show up at legislative district meetings and encourage people to vote, occasionally get a chance to have an even more influential role in state politics.

Precinct committeemen help select a replacement when a member of the Arizona Legislature resigns or otherwise leaves office before their term ends.

Here’s how it works: PCs in the vacated district vote for three candidates to replace the member who left office. Then, the board of supervisors representing the county where the lawmaker who left office resides choose one person from the slate to fill out the term.

It’s not all that infrequent in Arizona politics. In the past three years, five seats in the Legislature have been vacated.

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