A group of Arizona voters has pledged to file a recall petition against State Representative David Stringer if his colleagues don’t vote to expel him.
Calling itself Arizonans Deserve Better, the group formed an anti-Stringer PAC on Monday that shares its name with a Facebook group created in December. The latter group formed after Phoenix New Times published audio of Stringer telling Arizona State University students that African-Americans “don’t blend in,” among other racist comments.
Their idea for a political action committee came after the revelations in January of Stringer’s sex crime charges.
Stringer, a Prescott Republican, faces controversy over racist statements he made last year and revelations published by New Times in January that he was charged with multiple sex crimes, including child pornography, when he lived in Baltimore in 1983. A court entered a judgment of guilt on three of the counts, according to a case history. Stringer has claimed he was falsely arrested and that he pleaded to a “probation before judgement” on two unspecified misdemeanors, allowing him to avoid a conviction.
Arizonans Deserve Better chairperson Chris Hanlon said the revelations show that Stringer has been “dishonest” to the voters in Legislative District 1, which comprises most of Yavapai County and a small part of northern Maricopa County.
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"The two campaigns he ran constitute massive acts of deception,” said Hanlon, an English professor at Arizona State University. Hanlon said he would not discuss the group’s funding at the moment.
The PAC is counting on the Arizona House of Representatives to expel Stringer following an investigation by an outside counsel of his racist statements and criminal history ordered by the House Ethics Committee. The committee on Monday announced that former State Elections Director Joe Kanefield will lead that investigation.
"At the moment we still have hope that the Ethics Committee will do the right thing and recommend expulsion and this will come to a vote at the floor,” Hanlon said. "If that hope dissolves, we’ll file for recall.”
To qualify for a recall election in Arizona, petitioners must collect signatures from the equivalent of 25 percent of the voters who cast a ballot for the relevant office in the last election.