PHOENIX – Yesterday, the Ducey-appointed Commission on Appellate Court Appointments voted to interview 51 of 138 applicants to the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). Many of the applicants, who made the first cut and have been selected for interviews, are recent Ducey staffers and major donors, as well as a number of registered “Independents” whose political activities and affiliations demonstrate strong Republican leanings.
The registered “unaffiliated” or Independent applicants selected for interview include:
- Nicholas Dranias, former attorney for the Goldwater Institute and featured speaker for the hyper-conservative Federalist Society;
- Thomas Loquvam, former APS legal counsel whose now-shuttered Loquvam Law Firm represented Ducey-affiliated PACs in 2019;
- Robert Wilson, host of an August 20th Trump Rally held in the parking lot of his Flagstaff-area gun store and attended by Rep. Andy Biggs;
- Anders Lundin, a member of Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization that backed the failed “show me your genitals” legislation which sought to ban transgender children from participation in school sports teams that align with their gender identity.
Of the 20 Republican applicants selected for an interview, five have strong ties to the Governor:
- David Lane, a $20,000 donor to Ducey Victory Fund PAC;
- Lisa Davis: a major Ducey donor since Ducey’s 2010 run for State Treasurer;
- Douglas York: a major donor to Ducey campaigns as well as to the Ducey Victory Fund PAC;
- Kevin Kopp: a major donor to Ducey’s 2014 and 2018 campaigns, as well as to the Ducey-affiliated PACs Arizonans for Strong Leadership and Ducey Victory Fund;
- Megan Gould Maestas, former Ducey campaign scheduler;
- Trevor Abarzua, former Director of Operations and Logistics for the Governor’s office;
Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felecia Rotellini issued the following statement:
“Unfortunately, yesterday’s meeting produced what many of us have long feared. Ducey’s handpicked Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which rubber-stamped the appointment of Bill Montgomery to the State Supreme Court, has made the Governor’s influence apparent in its selection of IRC applicants who will be interviewed. The Commission’s clear preference, for so-called “Independent” applicants with obvious Republican leanings and for former Ducey staff members and major Ducey campaign contributors, has revealed that the Governor’s thumb is firmly placed on the scale. We encourage Arizonans to get involved, follow the process, and make your voices heard by urging the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments to select IRC candidates who will keep the IRC truly independent.”
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments is a 15-member body, which is required by the Arizona Constitution, to reflect the “diversity of the population of the state.” Under Ducey’s watch, the Commission is anything but diverse. Until recently, the Commission had only one member of color and no Democratic members. In July, after months of public pressure, the Governor added three Democrats and two additional members of color.
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments is scheduled to reconvene in October to conduct applicant interviews.