BREAKING NEWS: PHX City Clerk Mario Paniagua says the Rev. Jarrett Maupin is off the Sept. 11 mayoral ballot. Maupin plans to file legal challenge.
Maupin's down for the moment, but he's not out yet...
The Rev. Jarrett Maupin fell 91 signatures short of the 1,500 necessary to be certified to be on the ballot in the Sept. 11 mayoral election, Phoenix City Clerk Mario Paniagua said today. Maupin turned in 3,920 signatures on Friday, but only 1,409 were valid, according to Paniagua. That's compared with 1,735 valid signatures out of 2,276 submitted by Mayor Phil Gordon's campaign, and 1,759 valid signatures out of 2,895 submitted by Steve Lory's campaign. Currently, only Gordon and Lory have been certified to be on the ballot by Paniagua. Maupin has 10 days to file a court challenge to the City Clerk's finding.
Paniagua listed a number of problems with Maupin's signatures, but stated that the main problem was that nine of Maupin's petition circulators were found to have felony convictions, so all the signatures those individuals collected -- 517 total -- had to be thrown out under law, even though 184 of those would have been found valid otherwise, putting Maupin over the top of the magic 1,500 mark.
The vetting of Maupin's petition circulators was prompted, according to Paniagua, by Mayor Phil Gordon's campaign manager, Tony Motola, who, last Wednesday, challenged 18 people collecting signatures for Maupin. Paniagua further stated that neither Lory's nor Gordon's petition circulators were scrutinized in this manner because there were no such complaints against them.
Maupin said he intended to challenge the finding, saying he found it "highly suspicious" that he was being kept off the ballot, because many consider him to be Gordon's strongest rival in the campaign. "We have 10 days to respond," insisted Maupin. "I'm speaking to my attorney now. Nothing has changed in this race."
Though legal, this latest piece of political skullduggery comes on the heels of Maupin receiving a standing ovation at the Maricopa County Democratic Convention for a speech lambasting Gordon, and a meeting Maupin had with Gordon's deputy chief of staff, Bill Scheel, and State Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor. Maupin characterized the meeting as "an offer" to have him play ball with the system. It's obvious that Gordon wants to keep Maupin off the ballot by any means necessary, perhaps for fear that he'll be upset by an exceptionally gifted 20-year-old.
"I want Phil to come out of hiding and debate me on the issues like a man," stated Maupin. "I want to tell people to keep the faith. I may be a glass of milk with a little bit of shit in it, but Phil's a glass of shit with a little bit of milk in it. And in the end, we will separate the milk from the shit."