Republican Challenger to Congressman Ed Pastor Wins Candidacy Challenge, Not That It Matters


The nominating petitions for Jose "Joe" Penalosa, a Republican challenger to incumbent Democrat Ed Pastor in Congressional District 4, won't be tossed, a judge has ruled.

An elections complaint filed last week against Penalosa alleged that he didn't live within the boundaries of CD4, that one of his petition circulators is a convicted felon, and had too few valid petition signatures. Maricopa County Judge Gary Donahoe ruled yesterday that the latter two complaints were bogus: The petition gatherer isn't a convicted felon, and he filed the required number of valid signatures.

Donahoe states in his ruling that the first allegation is irrelevant: The U.S. Constitution states qualifications for Congressional candidates, and none of those include living within the lines of Congressional Districts drawn arbitrarily by states.

So Penalosa's free to run -- and get his butt whupped by Pastor.

Penalosa's an immigration attorney and a moderate Republican. His Web site mentions SB 1070 only as a problem affecting Arizona families, advocates a type of amnesty program for illegal immigrants, supports all-day kindergarten, and demands more pay for soldiers fighting overseas.

But the Congressional District, which includes portions of Glendale and Phoenix heavily populated by Latinos and African Americans, is known as a Democratic stronghold. Pastor, of course, is deeply entrenched, having been in office since 1992.

One more reason you've heard little, if anything, about Penalosa: Republicans may not  necessarily want him or any other GOP member leading CD4 -- some tell us they like it just the way it is. If fewer Dems turn out on Election Day because they think Pastor will win, it could mean good things for conservative ballot initiatives.

As long as it doesn't matter where he lives, maybe Penalosa would have better luck running against someone else.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.