Two IRC Finalists Threaten to Undermine Independence, Integrity of Commission
PHOENIX — Today, as the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission prepares to elect its independent chair, the Arizona Democratic Party urges the four appointed commissioners to exclude from consideration two candidates whose overt partisanship and deep ties to Republican elected officials render them wholly unqualified to lead this nonpartisan commission.
Thomas Loquvam is a political professional with strong ties to the Republican political establishment. In his role as General Counsel for EPCOR, Mr. Loquvam serves as a registered lobbyist, a line of work prohibited for IRC Commissioners in the Arizona Constitution. Prior to joining EPCOR, Loquvam’s law firm was paid over $5,000 by Governor Ducey’s PACs in 2019. During his Commission interview last week, Loquvam defended his ties to the Governor’s political efforts, but in doing so revealed his relationship to Mike Liburdi, a former Ducey aide who lead the search “for a registered Independent who can get appointed to the [Independent Redistricting Commission] to help the GOP in the next round of mapmaking after 2020.” Additionally, Mr. Loquvam’s 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.
Robert Wilson is a pro-Republican activist whose firearm business played host to a 2020 campaign rally promoting former President Trump and current Congressman (and alleged advocate for the pardon of capitol insurrectionists) Andy Biggs. Members of the Flagstaff community have spoken out against his application in public comment, pointing out his numerous pro-Republican, anti-Democrat social media posts, and his “divisive” and “trolling” behavior aimed at Democratic officials and a local community organization. Additionally, a recent report indicates that controversial Republican State Senator Wendy Rogers solicited her supporters to submit public comment in favor of Mr. Wilson, stating “Rob Wilson is Wendy Rogers’s choice.”
Wilson and Loquvam are not the only finalists with political ties. Erika Schupak Neuberg, a registered Republican from 2000-2016, has contributed nearly $10,000 to the Governor, his PACs, and current Republican members of the Arizona congressional delegation. Megan Carollo neglected to disclose her personal ties to Luis Ramirez Thomas, a close Ducey ally, in her IRC application. Ramirez Thomas’s firm consults for the Arizona Mexico Commission and has been paid over $1 million by the Governor’s office during Ducey’s tenure.
Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Matt Grodsky issued the following statement:
“While the list of Independent finalists put forth by Governor Ducey’s stacked Commission on Appellate Court Appointments hardly reflects the non-partisan spirit of the IRC as approved and supported by Arizona voters, two of the finalists represent particular threats to the independence and integrity of the commission.
A political professional and pro-Republican activist supported by a far-right Republican legislator are, without question, unequipped to lead this commission and uphold public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process, as required by the Arizona Constitution. We strongly urge the four partisan commissioners to reject Mr. Loquvam and Mr. Wilson, and seek a bipartisan consensus on a qualified, independent Chair.”