Maupin, battling to get back on the ballot.
Here's an update on yesterday's post regarding the news that PHX City Clerk Mario Paniagua is not certifying mayoral hopeful Jarrett Maupin for the 9/11/07 ballot because Maupin's 91 signatures short of the 1500 valid sigs needed. The amount of effort Gordon's campaign has placed into challenging Maupin's signatures, line by line, recalls in microcosm the hanging chad debacle of the 2000 Presidential election. It's certainly a testament to the Gordon campaign's determination to keep Maupin off the ballot, thus neutralizing the potential embarrassment of an incumbent mayor with $1 million in his campaign coffers losing to a 20-year-old, or coming anywhere close to losing to a 20-year-old.
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Yesterday, I was under the impression that Maupin had turned in his signatures this past Friday. Actually he turned in his 3,921 signatures Friday, July 13, shortly before Paniagua's office closed for the weekend at 5 p.m., just under deadline. Paniagua told me this morning that Gordon's campaign got hold of the signatures the same day, and had someone in Paniagua's office ready to receive copies after Maupin submitted them. On July 16, that Monday, Gordon's campaign submitted a detailed petition analysis to the City Clerk, alleging numerous irregularities. Tuesday, July 17, Gordon campaign manager Tony Motola faxed a list of Maupin's petition circulators, asserting that about 32 were felons, and thus not eligible to vote or solicit sigs for Maupin's campaign.
From this list, the City Clerk ultimately determined that 9 persons were possibly ex-felons, though some of these individuals were registered to vote, according to Paniagua. (Paniagua says of these 9, those registered to vote have since been removed from the election rolls.) These 9 had solicited over 500 sigs, as I mentioned yesterday, and these were all thrown out because those collecting them were not qualified to do so. Paniagua stated that 184 sigs would otherwise have been considered valid, and so would have put Maupin over the top for his 1500.
Maupin told me this morning that he's meeting with his attorney today, and will challenge the City Clerk's decision in court. He said he's confident he can make up his 91 signature deficit, and promises to be back on the ballot. Ultimately, I think these signature problems Maupin's having are an indication of two things: 1) the fact that his organization is not as experienced or as monied as Phil's, which is a given; and, 2) that Gordon truly fears Maupin's candidacy despite its shoestring budget, its grassrooots nature, and Maupin's youth.
Following Gordon's disastrous endorsement of John McCain, he's still in the doghouse with his fellow Dems. Further proof of this: last night, the Phoenix chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America endorsed Jarrett Maupin for mayor. Talked to their state coordinator Dan O'Neal today. He says even if Maupin is a write-in candidate, the endorsement will in all likelihood stand.