Scott Bundgaard Avoids Ouster From Leadership Role in Senate. Still Faces Likely Ethics Probe
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State Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard will remain the second-most powerful person in the Senate following a closed-door meeting with members of the Republican caucus this morning, at which GOP lawmakers discussed the senator's February domestic violence incident, and reportedly have decided to take no action to remove him from his leadership post.
See New Times' story on the Rumble Next to the Carpool Lane here.
Yesterday, Senate Democrats called for Bundgaard to resign from the Senate amidst allegations that he assaulted his ex-gal-pal, Aubry Ballard, during the February 25, lovers quarrel on the side of a Valley freeway.
Ballard, the great white hope of the Arizona highway system, left Bundgaard with a shiner, as he reportedly dragged her from his car.
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Republicans, including Senators Rich Crandall and Ron Gould, also criticized Bundgaard's behavior, saying he should -- at the very least -- resign from his leadership position.
"Getting in a fistfight with your girlfriend on the side of the freeway is behavior unbecoming a senator," Gould told the Arizona Republic. "I won't be led by somebody who does those kinds of things."
Crandall echoed Gould's comments, telling Capitol Media Services "this has gone way beyond a personal issue between Scott Bundgaard and his girlfriend."
But Bundgaard's got a pretty powerful ally: Brown-bashing, neo-Nazi-hugging Senate President Russell Pearce, who has referred to Bundgaard as the "victim" of the spat with Ballard -- even though she's the one who spent the night in the hoosegow as Bundgaard claimed legislative immunity.
The Associated Press describes this morning's meeting as follows:
Early on, Bundgaard could be seen through a window, standing up and gesturing with outstretched arms as he addressed fellow senators. Other senators then took turns speaking, with Bundgaard responding at times.
We've got calls into Crandall, and other Senate Republicans to get their take on their (gulp) leader. Check back to Valley Fever for details and updates.