Nov 3, 2022 - News

Community college board candidate who suspended campaign could still win

Illustration of a pattern of checkmarks that turn into question marks and vice versa, over a red and blue background with a pattern of ballot elements.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A community college governing board candidate who suspended his campaign after being cited by police for public sexual indecency could still win because he hasn't formally withdrawn from the race.

Context: Randy Kaufman suspended his campaign for an at-large seat on the Maricopa County Community College District governing board on Oct. 18 in response to news reports that a police officer cited him on charges of masturbating in his pickup truck on a community college campus in Surprise, within sight of a preschool and child care center.

  • Yes, but: He still hasn't filed a signed and notarized withdrawal statement that would officially end his campaign, Marcus Milam, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, tells Axios.
  • Kaufman was cited by police with one count of public sexual indecency, a class 1 misdemeanor, and released.
  • Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that the citation was "kicked out" of justice court and that her office was reviewing the case "to determine appropriate charges."

Why it matters: The seven-member board is the governing body for Maricopa County's 10 community colleges and sets budgets, tuition and policies.

  • Three of the board's seats are up for election this year.

Between the lines: The race is technically nonpartisan, meaning the candidates' party affiliations aren't shown on the ballot. But it doesn't take too much effort for voters to figure it out.

  • Prior to his citation, the Arizona Republican Party promoted Kaufman's candidacy, while his opponent, Kelli Butler, is a Democratic member of the state legislature who isn't seeking re-election.

State of play: Kaufman told Fox 10 last month that he would not take his seat on the board if elected.

  • If he wins and then either resigns or refuses to take his seat, state law dictates that Maricopa County school superintendent and fellow Republican Steve Watson would appoint a replacement, who would serve until a special election could be held in November 2024.
  • As the only other candidate on the ballot, Butler will effectively be the automatic winner if Kaufman officially withdraws.

What he's saying: Kaufman did not return messages from Axios Phoenix.

The bottom line: Nothing could stop Kaufman from simply taking his seat if he wins the election.


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