How the Dominos Might Fall in LD 4

Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services is reporting that State Senator Jack Harper, who is currently exploring a bid for Arizona Secretary of State, is considering not taking the oath of office if he ends up as Jan Brewer’s choice to be Secretary of State.  The Arizona Constitution prohibits lawmakers from taking another office or getting a government job during the term they were elected/appointed to.  So if Harper is sworn in on January 12th and Governor Napolitano doesn’t vacate until February, Harper will be ineligible for the appointment.

The reliably conservative Harper might not be easily replaced in most districts, but LD 4 appears to be blessed with several otherwise solid alternatives who could be appointed to fill Harper’s seat should he not take the oath on January 12th.  Either State Representative would clearly be qualified as Tom Boone just finished two years as Majority Leader in the State House, and Judy Burges is one of the most conservative members of the entire legislature.  Another name that several sources identified as a natural fit would be the district’s former State Senator, Scott Bundgaard.  Bundgaard had a solidly conservative record in the Senate, he knows how to do the job, and sources indicated that feelers had already been put out to Bundgaard to gauge his interest in a return to the body in 2010 when Harper would be term-limited.

The main question is who Brewer wants to appoint to the seat.  Should she go a different direction, Harper’s choice will be made for him and no dominos will fall at all.


  1. Wooden Teeth says

    No. Harper was elected to the 2009-2011 term, whether he takes the oath or not. He’s not eligible for another office during that time.

    The Arizona Constitution is hyper-paranoid about legislative corruption. Hence the two year terms and provisions like this one to keep legislators from being bribed with a new job by the governor.

  2. GOP Mom, Esq. says

    Part 2, Section 5 of the Arizona is clear that “no member of the legislature” can be appointed to another office during the term for which that person was elected. But, if that legislator was not “seated” for that term, then that member would not be considered a “member” under Part 2, Section 5. Cross reference ARS 38-291.3 and .9 where the person elected may resign or not file his or her oath, thus, that person would not be considered a “member” under Part 2, Section 5 of the AZ Constitution.

    Keep trying, Woody.

  3. Wooden Teeth says

    I will. Part 2 Section 5, with my comments in brackets:

    “No member of the legislature [Harper], during the term for which he shall have been elected [both Jan 2007 to Jan 2009, and Jan 2009 to Jan 2011] or appointed shall be eligible to hold any other office [SOS] or be otherwise employed by the state of Arizona or, any county or incorporated city or town thereof.”

    Doesn’t matter is he was seated, sat or stood. He was elected to the legislature, and is not eligible for another office.

  4. GOP Mom, Esq. says

    That’s a good start, but for some reason you choose to neglect Title 38 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (state law) which also governs and speaks to ‘how’ a “member” takes office or leaves office and ‘when’ a person becomes a “member” and the point at which that person ceases to be a “member”.

    Mr. Harper would not become a member for the term to which he was elected if he resigned or, more specific to this case, did not file his oath. ARS 38-291.9

    Case law also exists that supports the point I have made, but I am not going to belabor the very clear point.

  5. Glendale GOP says

    Didn’t we have this with Herb Guenther, the Dem from Yuma who took over the Water department or something for Janet after she was first elected?

  6. Is anyone else besides me not surprised that it is Harper who is behaving in this way?

  7. It happened with Guenther and also with Ramon Valadez, who skipped the swearing-in so he could be appointed to the Pima County Bd of Supes in 2003.

    Case law is clear that one does not become a “member” of the Legislature until being sworn in, and thus can remain eligible for another post in a governmental body.

  8. Glendale GOP says

    I don’t think we understand the question ron. Were we “not surprisd” by Valadez and Guenther? What’s the point?

  9. Okay, smart people, if Janet does not resign until February, and Jack does not take his oath, doesn’t that mean that he has “vacated” the seat and someone would need to be appointed in order to ensure the district’s representation? In other words, Harper would have to lock in the agreement with Jan before doing so, because he wouldn’t have the option of taking the oath later…right?
    Not gonna happen.

  10. Glendale GOP,

    The names, Guenther and Valdez, didn’t come up until after my post, I wasn’t referring to them. I was referring to Mr. Harper’s behavior which is well known in the community. For Mr. Harper to suggest that he would simply not take the oath of office on January 2 so he could be appointed to the SOS position is in keeping with his well-known hubris.

  11. I think you all are mis-interpreting the constitution. Let’s say Jack gets sworn in to the Senate in January. In February, Jan becomes Governor and tells Jack “Hey, I’d like you to be Secretary of State.” Jack then resigns from the legislature. Since he is no longer a member of the legislature, he can be appointed Secretary of State. It’s that simple.

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