A judge is mulling whether to keep congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick off the Aug. 28 primary ballot over allegations that she put false information in election records about where she lives
PHOENIX (AP) — A judge is being asked to kick a Democratic congressional candidate off the Aug. 28 primary ballot because opponents say she filed false information about where she lives.
A lawsuit filed by three Arizona voters doesn’t challenge Ann Kirkpatrick’s residency itself because the law says she merely has to be a state resident and not live in the district where she is running. Instead, they argue Kirkpatrick broke a campaign law by providing false information on campaign documents.
They say she falsely stated on records that she lived in an apartment in Tucson, when she actually resides in a condo in downtown Phoenix.
Lawyers for Kirkpatrick have asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, saying their client has lived in Tucson since April 2017. They say she rents an apartment in Tucson and occasionally spends time at her home in Phoenix. The cities are about 110 miles (177 kilometers) apart.
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Her attorneys contend any discrepancy about Kirkpatrick’s address on campaign documents doesn’t disqualify her from running for the office.
Craig Morgan, one of the attorneys seeking to keep Kirkpatrick off the ballot, said it’s unacceptable to provide false information on nominating petition documents. “It has to be accurate,” he said.
Kirkpatrick attorney Daniel Arellano said the U.S. Constitution bars kicking his client off the ballot based on where she lives.
Arellano said the question is whether the information on Kirkpatrick’s election documents causes confusion for voters.
“Here, there is no issue of confusion,” Arellano said.
Kirkpatrick was confronted by an opposing attorney about some of her nominating petitions, which included a Tucson address where she lived prior to moving to her current apartment.
“I don’t know where these petitions came from or who was circulating them,” Kirkpatrick said.
Outside court, Kirkpatrick spokesman Rodd McLeod said some volunteers who gathered petition signatures used documents with her prior address and didn’t know she had since moved. McLeod said only a fraction of Kirkpatrick’s petition signatures were gathered under her prior Tucson address.
Kirkpatrick said she registered to vote in Pima County a month after moving to Tucson and cast a ballot in Tucson municipal elections.
Superior Court Judge Joshua Rogers said he intends to issue a ruling on Tuesday.
Kirkpatrick is a former member of Congress. She gave up her seat representing northeastern Arizona in 2016 to make an unsuccessful challenge to Republican Sen. John McCain.
The 2nd District where she is now seeking to run includes part of the Tucson area as well as Cochise County in the state’s southeastern corner. The Democratic field includes former state Reps. Bruce Wheeler and Matt Heinz.
Last week a judge ruled that former state Rep. Don Shooter can run for the state Senate because he is still a resident of the district he wants to represent. Shooter is the first state lawmaker in the United States to be ousted over sexual misconduct allegations after the rise of the #MeToo movement.
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