Aug 23, 2022 - Politics

Arizona Supreme Court says Phoenix council candidate can stay on ballot

Illustration of a voting booth with a roof on it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A Phoenix City Council candidate who rented a home in a district so he could run for office there can remain on the ballot after the Arizona Supreme Court rejected a challenge to his residency Monday.

Driving the news: The court found that a Maricopa County judge ruled correctly when he found that Kevin Robinson, a former Phoenix Police Department assistant chief, met the residency requirements to run for council District 6, which covers Arcadia and Ahwatukee.

  • Moses Sanchez, one of Robinson's opponents, filed a lawsuit claiming that he doesn't live in the district.

Details: Robinson and his wife own a house in Scottsdale, but he rented a house in Ahwatukee so he could run for District 6.

  • Robinson testified in trial court that he spends most of his time at his rental home, and he keeps clothing, food, family photos, toiletries and his breathing machine there.
  • He is also registered to vote at the District 6 home, lists that at his address with the MVD and has a one-year lease and renter's insurance.

The other side: Sanchez argued that the trial court improperly disregarded the "family rule" in state law, which says, in part, "​​The place where a person's family permanently resides is his residence."

  • Robinson's wife still lives in their Scottsdale home.
  • Footage from a doorbell camera showed Robinson entering the home through the front door only six times in July.

Yes, but: The four-justice panel that ruled on the case noted that the family rule exempts situations where a candidate's family lives in "a place of temporary establishment" or is living somewhere for "transient purposes."

  • Robinson testified that he and his wife are looking for a possible home to buy or rent long term in the district.

Between the lines: Robinson is the Democratic establishment's candidate, and has the backing of Mayor Kate Gallego and her predecessor, Congressman Greg Stanton.

  • Robinson is one of seven candidates vying for the seat being vacated by Sal DiCiccio, an outspoken conservative who is termed out after holding office since 2009.
  • If no one gets a majority of the vote in the Nov. 8 election, the top two candidates will face each other in a runoff.
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