PHOENIX – The integrity of Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission hangs in the balance. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments (CACA) — charged with selecting the finalists for the IRC, including the five for the Independent chair position — has handpicked a list of Independent finalists that are anything but independent.
CACA, constitutionally required to be bi-partisan and representative of the population of the state, has been warped by this Governor to be overwhelmingly white and conservative. The consequence – a roster of selected “independent” IRC finalists that include: an attorney/lobbyist who worked for Governor Ducey’s PACs, a high dollar Ducey donor, and a gun store owner whose shop hosted a Trump rally and a shooting event for the President last fall.
Thomas Loquvam is the General counsel and vice president of corporate services at utility company EPCOR. He is a registered lobbyist, a line of work prohibited in the Arizona Constitution under voter-approved Proposition 106 that created the IRC in 2000. Furthermore, he is closely tied to Republican interests. In 2019 his law firm was paid over $5,000 by Governor Ducey’s PACs. Additionally, his many years at APS serving as legal counsel overlapped with those of his sister’s, lobbyist Jessica Pacheco, who wrote the utility giant’s “playbook” for their multi-million “dark money” efforts to influence Arizona elections and policy.
*Erika Schupak Neuberg has contributed nearly $10,000 to Governor Ducey’s campaigns and political action committees, and current Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation. She was a registered Republican from 2000-2016.
Robert Wilson infamously hosted a campaign rally for President Trump, as well as other Republican candidates, in the parking lot of his Flagstaff gun store. Wilson received the highest number of public comments in opposition to his application, as community members brought to light his numerous pro-Republican social media posts and “divisive” and “trolling” behavior aimed at Democratic officials and a Flagstaff community organization.
In her application and interview, luxury floral shop owner Megan Carollo neglected to disclose her personal ties to Luis Ramirez Thomas. Ramirez Thomas is a close Ducey ally whose firm consults for the Arizona Mexico Commission and has been paid over $1 million by the Governor’s office during Ducey’s tenure.
These selections represent bald-faced partisanship in action. They represent a clear and present threat to the integrity of Arizona’s electoral districts.
Gerrymandering has been undermining Democratic votes for years. Now we are on the precipice of being handed partisan maps for the next decade. What do Republican-drawn districts get us? More reps like Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko, Paul Gosar, and David Schweikert. Gerrymandering ensures one thing: that the most extreme, fringe voices gain political power.
Arizona Democratic Party spokesman, Matt Grodsky, issued the following statement:
“The redistricting commission was created by voters to function independently from our political parties. But Governor Ducey has torched that sentiment. His Commission on Appellate Court Appointments has stacked the list of finalists for the Independent Chair with picks who lack qualification and are overtly partisan.
“The role of the independent chair requires a leader who is free of ties to either major political party and has the experience and credibility to lead the important work of the IRC effectively. If Arizonans care about the authenticity of their legislative and congressional districts, they should make their voices heard on January 14th. The Arizona Democratic Party has launched a new page with more information on the Independent finalists, and links to submit public comment: azdem.org/wreckingredistricting.”
*A previous version of this release stated: Erika Schupak Neuberg has contributed nearly $10,000 to Governor Ducey’s campaigns and political action committees and was a registered Republican from 2000-2016.
This has since be clarified to: Erika Schupak Neuberg has contributed nearly $10,000 to Governor Ducey’s campaigns and political action committees, and current Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation. She was a registered Republican from 2000-2016.