Expelled Arizona legislator Don Shooter running for Arizona Senate

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Don Shooter running

Don Shooter was expelled from the Arizona State House of Representatives on February 1st this year after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. After walking out during his own expulsion vote, he claimed he would never serve in the state legislature again. Now, after only four months since his dramatic expulsion, could anyone imagine Don Shooter running again?

Don Shooter can.

Why is Don Shooter running again?

According to Shooter, the decision to throw his hat back into the ring is just him responding to the will of the people. As recently as early May when asked if he would ever run again he replied, “Hell no!”

But by the end of May his story had changed. He was willing to be drafted if activists from his hometown in Yuma, Arizona, could gather enough support. He simultaneously hinted that such support existed and was becoming active.

Speaking to the Arizona Capitol Times, Shooter said, “You gotta remember that I was drafted the first go around, and these are only my core supporters I’m sure.”

He then described his conversation with his base. “They said, ‘Aren’t you gonna run,’ and I said, ‘Well, I didn’t plan on it. If you get the petitions, I guess I’ll run…’ If people want me to work and serve, I’ll go.”

At least 828 people want him to –  at least that is how many signatures Shooter turned in to the election board on Wednesday. It was well more than the required 474.

The once impossible scenario of Shooter running for the Legislature again appears to have become a reality at the first opportunity.

“I’ve learned some lessons and I’m ready to serve,” Shooter said to the media after his candidacy filing. “Simple as that.”

Cue understandable outrage…

The Arizona Constitution allows the House to expel one of its members with a two-thirds vote (Shooter’s vote was 56-3, and he was one of the 3), but does not say anything that would prevent an expelled legislator from running again. But there are still plenty of people unhappy about it.

Lobbyist Marilyn Rodriguez, one of the women Shooter was accused of harassing, tweeted, “Don Shooter is a predator and serial harasser who disgraced the honor of elected office.”

Rodriguez and the many others who oppose Shooter running again can at least take solace from the challenging path to victory he is facing. Even getting through the Republican primary may be a challenge.

The seat is currently occupied by Republican Sine Kerr, who was appointed to fill the seat when Steve Montenegro resigned to make an unsuccessful bid for Congress. A third Republican, Brent Backus, is also running. And Democrat Michelle Harris will be waiting to run against the winner of the GOP primary in November.

What about the lawsuit?

Shooter running is not just causing consternation among his accusers. There are plenty of Republican leaders who do not want him haunting the Arizona State Capitol grounds in Phoenix either.

In mid-April Shooter filed notice of a $1.3 million claim for what he alleges was a conspiracy to expel him to protect Governor Greg Ducey. The filing gave his accusers 60 days to reply, and that deadline is just two weeks away.

At the time his attorney Kraig Marton said, “Mr. Shooter intends to vigorously defend his reputation, and to work to restore the damage caused by the actions described in this notice of claim.”

With the campaign, the lawsuit, and his accusers energized to prevent him from re-entering the Arizona Legislature, it is going to be a busy Summer and Fall for Don Shooter.

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