March 15, 2021 Press Releases

Release: Arizona Democratic Party Urges IRC to Disqualify Republican Operatives in Executive Director Search

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 15, 2021

Release: Arizona Democratic Party Urges Independent Redistricting Commission to Disqualify Republican Operatives in Executive Director Search

The Executive Director is a key staff position that should not be held by inexperienced political operatives

PHOENIX – Tomorrow, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC)  will meet and interview five candidates for Executive Director (ED), a position critical to the management of the IRC and the success of its efforts to engage diverse communities throughout Arizona in the redistricting process. Included in the list of finalists are two candidates whose work experience and close ties to GOP elected officials raise significant concerns:

Trevor Abarzua, a 2015 graduate of ASU, began his career on the 2016 campaign of Sen. John McCain, followed by an almost two-year stint in Governor Ducey’s office. While in his current role at a state agency, Mr. Abarzua applied, unsuccessfully, to fill one of the Republican seats on this IRC.

Brian Schmitt is the Chief of Staff to current Phoenix City Councilmember Jim Waring. Although not much of Mr. Schmitt’s background and experience has yet been made available to the public, it appears that his name is linked to a 2020 campaign disbursement from McSally for Congress in the amount of $63,652.44, made 3 days after the November election, as well as disbursements from the Republican National Committee in both 2020 and 2018. Councilmember Waring, a former Republican congressional candidate, is term-limited and will have to vacate his council seat by 2023. It is unknown if he intends to run for another elected office.

Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Alex Alvarez issued the following statement:

“As this Commission must overcome an unprecedented six-month delay in the release of Census data, the importance of qualified and experienced staff cannot be overstated. The Executive Director role is not the job for a GOP political operative looking to influence the process as an unappointed sixth commissioner.

We urge the Commissioners to prioritize candidates who have the experience to best lead the IRC staff and operations, and who are committed to upholding the trust of Arizonans and spirit of fairness that this Commission has been working diligently to build.”