The importance of a write-in vote in the Arizona Corporation Commission primary

Proposition 127, which would have amended the Constitution to require electricity providers to generate at least 50% of their sales from renewal energy, was defeated in November 2018 1,580,101 to 723,138. In the same election, 1,076,800 voters picked Sandra Kennedy, a supporter of Proposition 127, to serve on the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).

The activists behind Prop 127 may believe the easiest route for them to control Arizona’s utilities is via the ACC. There are five commissioners. Three seats are open in November, all now held by Republicans. There were many Republican candidates. All but two, Lea Márquez Peterson and Eric Sloan, were knocked off the ballot by challenges to their signatures. Candidates for the ACC in 2020 were asked to collect 6,663 signatures. Signature challenges are common. Candidates needing 6,663 will normally seek to collect 10,000 or more to provide a margin for error, however the corona virus lockdown intervened in early March, catching four Republican candidates with only about 7,000 signatures each, and the opposition pounced.

Jim O’Connor can get his name on the November ballot if we write it in in the August primary ballot. He needs 6,663 write-in votes, the same number as the signatures required.

The Arizona Republican Assembly (AZRA) has endorsed Eric Sloan but not Lea Márquez because Márquez is more sympathetic to renewable energy. Márquez was appointed to the commission by Governor Ducey in 2019. If O’Connor’s write-in bid fails, Democrats will win one seat by default and Márquez may be the swing vote on the commission. AZRA does not endorse write in candidates.