Felecia Rotellini Out of Arizona Democratic Party Chair Run, Who's Left?

FeleciaRotellinipicresized_1294095714_5551339.28.jpg
Rotellini's not running to replace Bivens, but Cherny says he may take the plunge this week

One of the brightest stars in the local Democratic firmament (such as it is) has opted out of the run for state Democratic Party Chair. While another is still considering a run, and will make a decision this week.

Once and future Arizona Attorney General hopeful Felecia Rotellini, who despite her loss to just sworn-in Attorney General Tom Horne scored more votes statewide in 2010 than any other Democratic candidate, has told me she won't be vying to replace Don Bivens at the state party reorganization meeting on January 22.

But Andrei Cherny, who ran a vigorous if unsuccessful campaign against Republican Doug Ducey for state Treasurer, promised that announcement will come from his camp before week's end.

"I'm strongly considering it," Cherny told me today. "And I'm getting a lot of encouragement."

About a month ago, Rotellini told me she was considering it, but now she's decided to stay focused on her law career and for running for something else down the line.

"I think I can best serve the party in Arizona not as the party chairman," she explained to me. "But in the capacity I know best, which is advocacy and practicing law, and working...on economic issues, immigration issues, and on mortgage and housing issues."

(Rotellini told me she'll back Cherny in the race, assuming he does run. See below for an update.)

As she indicated in her address to the party faithful at the Dems November meeting, she said she's still committed to a rematch against Tom Horne in four years, but that others in the party are asking her to entertain other options, like running for a different post. (She declined to get into specifics of which post exactly.)

While Rotellini's bow-out is disappointing, those seeking a legitimate contender for Bivens' position should be heartened that Cherny may still make a go of it. Cherny -- a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton -- is young, brilliant, and has a proven ability to raise money and express Democratic ideals, instead of running from them.

Bivens has said that he would remain a candidate unless someone who can do the job emerges. I don't think there's any doubt Cherny can do the job, as daunting as it is, to remold the local Donkey-Kongs into a fighting force that can go head-to-head with Sand Land's Republinuts.

Indeed, I suspect Bivens may take a powder if Cherny makes it formal.

Ex-John McCain foe Rodney Glassman has been running hard for the position, but he has to overcome the skepticism of many in the Democratic Party who were disappointed by his uninspiring bid against the U.S. Senator.

There's also bad blood over certain statements he reportedly made about an openly gay Tucson city councilwoman, unfulfilled promises on the amount of his own money he would sink into his U.S. Senate bid, and a fallout during the campaign where several of his own staffers jumped ship, badmouthing him to the media.

Former state Representative John Loredo has been mentioned as well as a possible candidate, but I think that was mostly wishful thinking on the part of some.

All of which may leave the Dems with three choices: Glassman, Bivens, or Cherny. There has been some concern that Cherny's not being a precinct committeeman would pose a problem, though I've been told by party insiders that the Dems' lawyers have looked at it and found that there are ways to satisfy the requirements of statute and bylaw.

Should Cherny opt out of the race, or be precluded by the rules, that would leave the Dems with a real Morton's fork of a choice: Bivens vs. Glassman. That's a prospect that few Dems will relish.

(Update: The Three Sonorans blog has already declared that it's official that Cherny's running. But Cherny was still hedging when he spoke with me today. So I called Cherny back, and asked him about the enthusiastic Three Sonorans report. He said that he's not made an official announcement, and reiterated his line that he's strongly considering a run and will make an announcement this week.)

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18 comments
Alialibubu
Alialibubu

I think she should run for Jon Kyl's seat. Either her or Rios. Goddard could win it if he had a intense and very aggressive campaign manager. But hands down one of these two women could send "My mother doesn't need maternity care" Kyl packing. That would change the scope of the power of the GOP tremendously.

DrunkCops
DrunkCops

Why don't you guys do a Feather Bastard series on local police officers who drive drunk and otherwise get arrested for the same crime violations they enforce on citizens? You could start with Ofc. J. Zycowics (sic) who was arrested for Extreme DUI by Scottsdale PD over the holidays. Why not put heat on the Chandler PD Chief to fire this mouthbreather and get a cop with integrity so us tax payers get our monies worth. This monkey in blue will be ridin the pine for at least a year until he can actually perform the duties of a police offficer again--not to mention what lousy decision process this tool has and he is enforcing laws on us....Something wrong here.

Earthdayaz
Earthdayaz

What's the procedure for "suspending the rule(s)"? I believe that any rule can be suspended on a 2/3rds vote except for constitutional rules - IF NO ONE OBJECTS.

"It has been held that public bodies can adopt rules, even by majority vote, that cannot be suspended or amended without a two-thirds vote, but it is also held by the courts that actions, taken in violation of procedural rules of parliamentary law and of adopted rules, are valid nevertheless, since failure to conform to the rules of this class suspended them by implication." Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure

“Bylaws cannot be suspended even by unanimous vote. But sometimes circumstances, expediency or strong assembly determination in behalf of a cause or proposition make violations necessary. In all such cases of violations, the action taken is illegal per se; but if no one objects at the time, or never challenges it at any time thereafter, a violation never challenged is never a violation." Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure

CooperG
CooperG

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Cherny can't become a PC in time and can't become chair. There are three significant problems. The first is there has to be a vacancy in LD-11. If all of the positions are filled, then a vacancy has to be created which means someone has to resign or for other reasons (A.R.S. 38-291). Only when a vacancy occurs can the district meet to approve the appointment by a voice vote (MCDP Bylaws Article 4, Section 3), which is the second problem in that specific district has to make the appointment, according to Maricopa County bylaws.

That nomination is then sent to the County Chair, who must then send it to the appropriate County Board of Supervisors for their approval, which is the second problem. A.R.S. 16-821(B), which spells out the rules for filling vacant PC positions, says you cannot be an appointed PC until the Board of Supervisors recognizes there is a vacancy and they approve the appointment. It simply isn't the case that the chairman decides or "says" someone is a PC. There are statutes to follow and there is no wiggle room.

16-821(B) "The board of supervisors upon the recommendation of the county chairman, or the recommendation of a committee designated in the bylaws of the county committee for that purpose, shall determine when a vacancy exists in the office of precinct committeeman. If a vacancy exists, the vacancy shall be filled by the board of supervisors from a list of names submitted by the county chairman of the appropriate political party. Only a precinct committeeman elected at the primary election prior to the date of a state or county committee organizing meeting shall be permitted to vote at such meeting. The criteria used to establish when a vacancy exists in the office of precinct committeeman shall be as established in section 38-291."

So even if there is a vacancy, the BoS isn't going to meet to approve appointed PCs until AFTER the reorganization meetings have completed, which won't be until February or March. There's simply no way for a non-balloted elected PC to be appointed and eligible to vote in the reorganization meeting.

Bill
Bill

Your first factual inaccuracy is that Cherny doesn't live in LD11. So kind of makes everything else you say questionable.

Draft Felicia
Draft Felicia

LD 14-- the rest is still accurate; read the statutes, contact the BoS. Andrei is not a valid PC and will not be by Jan. 22 (and couldn't be appointed anyway, since the Dems do not currently have a chair-- Bivens tenure has ended ).

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

So, I guess there isn't time for me to register as a Dem and still be approved in time to run for state party chair. Dammit, dammit, dammit... just when I was getting perked up, too...

revgerry
revgerry

The Party's terrible decision not to campaign against BS1070 made it a toothless tiger in the last election, and sadly Arizona's children are going to pay the price with their education, our tax monies will be diverted to lawsuits, private prisons, and raids on Panda Express workers. This isn't a game, and SPC is not an honorary title. Don Bivens was worse than useless, he actually cost us seats directly. He cannot stay.

It absolutely matters that we raise $, recruit and train PC's and candidates to fight hard to win seats in all 30 districts, which Bivens never signed onto as a strategy and Glassman has said he would do. We have a presidential election that can put some wind in our sails if we are allowed out of the docks.

Glassman's statement on immigration was moderate but it supported work visas and opposed deportations. http://www.rodneyglassman.com/... I don't blame him for not pouring more money into a campaign he couldn't win - I wasn't in the campaign, but I'd have also saved $ to fight another day. That said, Glassman is an effective fundraiser, evidenced by his childrens charity. He doesn't know all the Phoenix "players" yet, but that might not be all bad... for me, having someone from Pima County as State Chair would be a very big positive.

Steve
Steve

Loredo has been considering running for state chair... Don't know if he's made a decision for or against yet.

Elephty
Elephty

I apologize. I was mistaken about Andrei Cherney being able to run as the state party chair. He cannot run for chair no matter how many legal opinions that Don Bivens collects.

Only elected PC's are qualified to be appointed to the state committee. So, it is impossible that Andrei Cherney could ever run to be chair--he is not an elected PC. End of story...

ARTICLE II STATE COMMITTEE

SECTION 1.

Membership. Unless otherwise prescribed by law, membership of the State Committee shall consist of the chairperson of each county committee of the Democratic Party of Arizona, plus one (1) member of the county committee for every three (3) members of the county committee elected pursuant to statute.

SECTION 2. Election of Officers. Only precinct committeepersons elected at the preceding primary election shall be eligible for membership on the State Committee at the statutory organizational meeting.

Any duly elected or appointed State Committeeperson may be eligible for any elective office but no person shall be submitted as a candidate without the consent of such person having first been obtained.

SECTION 5. Vacancies.A vacancy in the State Committee shall occur if a member dies, resigns, fails to maintain Democratic registration, is removed by cause, or otherwise ceases to be a member of his or her county committee. Such vacancy shall be filled by appointment made by the State Chair with the advice and consent of the County Chair of the county in which the vacancy occurred, and shall be filled by a qualified (elected PC) person who resides in the same County in vacancy occurred. In counties with populations of five hundred thousand (500,000) or more persons, such vacancy shall be filled by appointment made by the State Chair with the advice and consent of the County Chair of the county in which the vacancy occurred and the District Chair of the district in which the vacancy occurred, and shall be filled by a qualified person (elected PC) who resides in the same district in which the vacancy occurred.

GlassmanUrKidding
GlassmanUrKidding

"Any duly elected or appointed State Committeeperson may be eligible for any elective office but no person shall be submitted as a candidate without the consent of such person having first been obtained."

Sounds like wiggle room to me.

Draft Felicia
Draft Felicia

Bivens tenure ended Dec. 31, 2010, thus he cannot appoint Andrei to a state committtee seat, thus Andrei is ineligible. This would also be the third "dead hand"-- the past chair reaching from the grave to chose his dynastic successor-- in Dem party leadership. It hasn't been working well for these outsiders/non-state committee people to manipulate the by-laws and by-pass procedure to gain power, and it is not going to work well for the party this time. This legal opinion, which is simply an opinion, and will be challenged by many, including the party Election Integriy Caucus, acutally opens the position up to any Arizona resident-- just register as a Dem, get your county chair to appoint you a PC and SC, and you, too, could run for AZDP chair-- what a free- for- all. If Andrei wanted to be chair, he should have followed the rules like the rest of us. And if he really wanted to be a "uniter," he would find a legitimate candidate, such as Felicia, and encourage and support that candidate. What Andrei is attempting to do will rip our party apart. We need someone we can all get behind (Glassman is not that person, either).

CooperG
CooperG

If my memory is correct, only ballot elected PCs can vote in the reorganization meeting. PCs cannot be appointed until after the reorganization meeting and even in that case, there needs to be a vacancy and the appointment must be presented to the Maricopa County Recorder before it officially takes effect.

Elephty
Elephty

Andrei Cherney is not an elected PC nor is he an elected state committeeman. He will have to be appointed to both positions. Don Bivens will have to appoint him to the state committee in order for him to "legally" run. However, if the chair of the party can appoint whomever they want to the state committee, then why the hell would anyone want to be an elected PC? It's the exact way that Bivens was shoved down our throats. It may be "legal" but it's not ethical.

BTW:Truth to Power, that is not a rumor, it's a fact. Andrei Cherney was on the "messaging" committee during last year's election. I never got a message about a message. Democrats could not talk about SB 1070 because Don Bivens had a conflict of interest with his law firm defending SB1070. If Cherney is Biven's pick--he's not mine.

Truth to Power
Truth to Power

The rumor is it was Cherny who railed on Luis Heredia and stopping him dead in his tracks insisting the state party not to go anywhere near SB1070 or the immigration issue in 2010. If that's true, and you should ask him about it, that should cross him off a number of lists.

It's running away from the tough issues that got Dems into this mess in the first place and I don't care how many Clinton people you know, if you're willing to concede ANY issue to the Republicans, you're the wrong person for the job.

Bill
Bill

Huh? Jeez, I think Terry Goddard was the top Democratic candidate and was defending SB1070 before he was against it. You're spinning a little bit of revisionist history to blame the treasurer candidate for pushing a position that doesn't even have anything to do with the treasurer's office. For better or worse, Terry Goddard led the ticket and everyone else followed, even if it felt like we were being led over a cliff. Trying to blame Cherny, who along with Rotellini, ran by far the best campaign of the cycle is pretty disingeneous.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Too bad Felicia won't reconsider her decision. I would like to see the D party led by someone with intestinal fortitude. Otherwise, they will once again have no chance again in 2012, which is just next year, by the way....

Rob
Rob

Wondering if the "other options" in running for a different post might be Governor?Who's the likely Repub candidate?

Given her noted strong showing in this past election and opting to stay out of a position for now she doesn't get tied into any major party line issues that are bound to come up. She'd also be an entirely fresh face come the next election. Also, you can't discount Arizona's lean towards female Governors in recent years.

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