Courts nix candidates, races taking shape

By Nathan Brown | Arizona Capitol Times

While signature challenges and people withdrawing their candidacy after filing have led to some shakeups already, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has just forestalled what could have been a major shakeup in Legislative District 27.

Judge Stephen Hopkins ruled on April 28 that House Majority Leader Ben Toma is a legal resident of his new district. Jay Griffin, one of four Republicans vying for the district’s two House seats, had been challenging Toma’s eligibility, arguing that Toma, R-Peoria, didn’t really live in the home that is the basis of his claim to residency.

Toma represents Legislative District 22 on last decade’s maps and had previously claimed an address that is within the old LD22 but will be in Legislative District 28 now, due to redistricting. Almost a year ago, Toma started building a house that is in his current district but will be in LD27, where he is running for re-election, on the new maps.

Hopkins held a hearing on April 27 and dismissed Griffin’s challenge the next day. He wrote in his decision that Toma has already switched his driver’s license to his new home and has “moved substantial furniture and personal effects” into it.

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