Note: The Democratic Party's legal opinion regarding issues raised by a Cherny candidacy is linked in the update below.
I'm on deadline at the moment, but I want to bring you this much anticipated news: erstwhile state Treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny just called me to tell me he formally putting two feet in the river, and making a bid for Don Bivens' post as Arizona State Democratic Party Chairman.
In a blog post yesterday, I reported that Cherny was still strongly considering the run, though was holding off for an official announcement. But it seems the pro-Cherny chorus is growing in Democratic ranks, and he can wait no longer.
"We need in this era a strong transition and a strong messenger," Cherny explained. "One who'll really be able to make the case to Arizonans why Democrats have the right ideas for the state's economy and all the other challenges that face us."
Cherny boasts formidable communication and fundraising skills, and friends in high places. Once an adviser to President Bill Clinton, the ex-President actually came to Phoenix to stump for Cherny at a fundraiser in April of last year.
A bone of contention among some is whether state statutes and the party's bylaws allow Cherny to run for the position of party chair. Cherny told me he's been appointed a precinct committeeman from LD14, and that he expects to be appointed to the state committee.
Cherny said that Democratic Party lawyers had researched the issue, and were confident that he would legally be able to seek the job.
I've asked the Democratic Party for the opinion and will share it when I get it.
Personally, I think Cherny is a no-brainer for the position, assuming he's not barred by some technicality. He's a former Assistant Arizona Attorney General. He's tough. He's Jim Carville-smart on politics. And he's Bill Clinton smart on messaging. Plus, he knows how to raise beaucoup cash.
Also, he's a progressive, and he knows how to lead. Add to that youth and vigor, and you've got yourself a winning combination.
I'm crossing my fingers. If Bivens can hand off the reins to Cherny on January 22, during the party's reorganization meeting, the Dems might finally be on the track to revivification at last.
UPDATE: The Dems got back to me with the legal opinion offered by the firm Perkins, Coie, Brown & Bain. You can read it in its entirety, here.
The gist, however, is in the first paragraph:
"You have asked for a legal opinion on the eligibility requirements to become an officer of the state committee. This analysis is based on the Arizona Democratic Party's Bylaws, as approved on June 14, 1980 and amended on November 21, 2009, as well as Arizona statutes and an Attorney General Opinion. Based on my review of the foregoing, I believe that an officer of the state committee must be a member of the state committee and must be an elected precinct committeeman (PC), unless that individual was appointed to the state committee to fill a vacancy that occurred following the county committee's organizational meeting, in which case that individual need not have been elected a PC."
And in the conclusion:
"The eligibility requirements to be an officer on the state committee are as follows:
Member of the county committee
Member of the state committee
Elected PC, unless appointed to the state committee following the county committee's organizational meeting because a vacancy on the state committee has occurred."
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