The Cochise County Republican Party is met Sunday to recommend three nominees to replace the recently-resigned Becky Nutt as state representative for Legislative District 14.
Cochise County Supervisors are scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider the candidates, and appointment of the new officeholder could be completed as soon as Friday.
The timing is especially important for the state GOP if it hopes for a special session to act on several new laws recently declared unconstitutional. The ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court earlier this month threw out provisions of three budget reconciliation bills and voided all of another budget bill, putting an end to a variety of new laws aimed at prohibiting mask mandates, changing election laws, preventing universities from requiring proof of vaccination and other initiatives.
Ms. Nutt’s resignation is one of 11 that have rocked the Legislature this year. Four lawmakers left to pursue another political office, one died, another is relocating out of state, one left to focus on his medical profession, one was criminally indicted, and two resigned to accept federal positions. Eight of those leaving office are Democrats, three are Republicans. All but three of the seats have been filled, with Ms. Nutt’s position the lone Republican yet to be appointed.
Considering the narrow GOP majority in the State House and Senate, quick appointment of a new LD14 representative should assure that Republicans can continue to control what gets passed by the Legislature.
That’s a primary concern for the state GOP, but we’re not sure it should be a primary concern for Cochise County Republicans.
The second session of the 55th Legislature will convene Jan. 10, 2022, which leaves little time for Gov. Ducey to call a special session, especially during the holidays.
Ms. Nutt’s swift and unexpected resignation was effective Nov. 1 and there was deliberation by the secretary of state’s office regarding her residency. Initial reports listed her as a Clifton resident, which would have put the responsibility of making the appointment on the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors. It wasn’t until Monday, Nov. 8, that it was determined Ms. Nutt’s last address was in Pearce, which moved the job of finding a replacement to Cochise County.
LD14 covers all of Cochise and Graham counties, a portion of Pima County and southern Greenlee County. Whomever gets the nod from the Cochise County GOP and is then appointed by the Board of Supervisors will have an edge in next November’s election, assuming they want to continue serving in the position.
That’s where it should matter to Cochise County voters. Are constituents here more interested in serving the interests of the state Republican Party and its agenda in the Legislature, or would they be more likely to vote for a candidate in 2022 who is well-vetted and truly committed to working through issues that matter to Cochise County?
Today’s county Republican proceedings will be entirely behind closed doors, with nominations limited to precinct committeemen. Public input, public nomination, is not welcome.
We’d rather see a little more time invested vetting Ms. Nutt’s replacements with an eye toward a Republican candidate who works well with local municipal officials, has a good handle on local issues and is less of an ideologue serving only the interests of the GOP majority in the Legislature.