Why political party activists have a say in replacing lawmakers who leave the Arizona Legislature

By Mary Jo Pitzl || TheArizona Republic

Two state lawmakers recently left the Legislature: One driven out by expulsion and another resigning to pursue a Congressional bid. The decision on who will replace them falls to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. But it wasn’t always that way.

Up until 1987, legislative vacancies were filled by holding a special election. Then in 1987, lawmakers scrapped the elections and charged county boards of supervisors with naming replacements.

The process morphed again in 1999, when the Legislature cut precinct committee members in on the process. A bill approved with bipartisan support gave the “PCs,” as they’re called by political insiders, the duty to nominate three individuals to fill a vacancy. PCs are elected by party members in each legislative district during primary elections and form the grassroots of the political parties.

Those names would then go to the county supervisors, who would appoint a replacement.


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