Paradise Valley-Area Representative Steps Down, Successor to be Chosen

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We have previously covered LD28 Representative Aaron Lieberman’s announcement of his run for Arizona Governor. As a result of Arizona’s “resign-to-run” laws, his time as Representative was thusly coming to an end soon regardless, and as such Lieberman recently announced his resignation from this seat.

Legislative District 28 covers Paradise Valley as well as parts of central and east Phoenix, including the Arcadia and Biltmore neighborhoods. It has been a hotly contested “swing district” since its creation after the last redistricting process in 2012, and 2020 was the first election in which the Democrats won all three legislative seats (2 Representative and 1 Senate seats) in the same race, with Kelli Butler and Liebermann winning re-election to the House, and Christine Porter Marsh winning the Senate seat.

The process to replace him is currently underway, as the Democratic Precinct Committeepersons (local level party officials) in LD28 will convene this Thursday to submit three names to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who will then choose who will take over Lieberman’s seat for the rest of the term. After that, LD28 will cease to exist in its current form, as the to-be-determined redistricting borders will then be in play for the 2022 election.

Why does this matter? In some ways, it really doesn’t. The person chosen will caucus with the Democrats, meaning no net loss or gain of votes. Considering that the boundaries will be gone by the end of that term, there is not a clear path to running for re-election for whomever is chosen.

However, whomever is chosen can then start making contacts with various interest groups, lobbies, and well-heeled individuals which that individual can then take forward with them to either run for re-election or run for a different seat. Also, where that individual lives within the current district matters significantly. Since Rep. Butler has since moved to the Sunnyslope district in Phoenix, choosing a replacement from that area could create a crowded 2022 primary depending on the redistricted borders. Someone from the Biltmore or Arcadia neighborhoods or Paradise Valley could find themselves with a less impeded path through a primary in 2022, but a much tougher general election in a more Republican district.

Meanwhile, the Republican-led Board of Supervisors certainly has some incentive to choose someone who will have little chance to utilize that seat to turn into a fundraising juggernaut. Frictions and acrimony between the BoS and much of the AZ GOP caucus are already at an elevated level due to the recent “audit”, and they won’t be getting Christmas cards from Kelli Ward if they end up choosing the next star of the AZ Democratic Party.

Perhaps however, they’re willing to sacrifice Christmas cards for a final shot in their internal war.