Representative David Stringer resigned last Wednesday from his seat in the Arizona Legislature after facing a swirl of controversies over the last several months. That left a vacancy that had to be filled as soon as possible.
Ken Bennett makes a presentation to the Board of Supervisors.
The County Board of Supervisors had three candidates to choose from: Steve Pierce, Ken Bennett and Steven Sensmeier.
You can watch the procedures here:
It became clear that the decision was between Ken Bennett and Steve Pierce. While each supervisor praised Steven Sensmeier for his willingness to serve, they obviously felt it would be best to send someone who had prior experience in the legislature.
Steven Sensmeier, left, sits next to friend Jeremiah Cota as the Supervisors make their decision.
Ken Bennett is a former Secretary of State, and also served as Senate President for 4 years. He is well-known for his budget demonstration using Kleenex boxes. However, he ran against Governor Doug Ducey twice, and there was a concern that there would be conflict between the two men.
Steve Pierce served in the Senate for 4 years, serving as Senate President for one year. He still maintains warm contacts with politicians in Phoenix, including Governor Ducey.
Both Pierce and Bennett committed that they would not run again in 2020.
The decision was particularly difficult for the supervisors, because most of them had known both Bennett and Pierce for many years. But what seemed to tip the scales in Pierce’s favor was his continued relationship with Governor Ducey.
L-R: Supervisors Craig Brown and Randy Garrison, Representative Steve Pierce,
Supervisors Tom Thurman, Rowle Simmons and Jack Smith.
Afterwards, Representative Pierce spoke about his next steps:
Top: Ken Bennett hugs Nelson Pierce; Middle: Bennett congratulates Steve Pierce;
Bottom: Bennett shakes Rowle Simmons’ hand.
Nelson Pierce, (L), hugs his dad, Steve Pierce as they talk to Rowle Simmons.
Representative Steve Pierce and his son, Nelson Pierce.
Representative Steve Pierce with his family.
Precinct Committeemen met on Sunday at the Centennial Center in Prescott to vote on three people to send to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration. Republican State Chair Kelly Ward led the proceedings.
For those that want to watch the entire conclave, Prescott eNews streamed it live on Facebook.
Eleven people were nominated from the floor:
Jeff Wasowicz was actually not in attendance, but was represented by Pam Jones. Each of the 11 nominees were given a chance to make a statement and then to field questions for a limited number of minutes. After that, the voting commenced.
A nominee had to get at least 50%+1 of the votes in order to be selected as one of the three people to advance to the Board of Supervisors.
In the first tally, Steve Pierce won easily, with 71 votes, more than enough to secure his selection.
In the second tally, Jim Dutton dropped out, giving his support to Chris Kuknyo, and Steven Sensmeier, Ken Bennett and Chris Kuknyo came out on top. Needing 57 votes, only Sensmeier had enough to advance.
Jody Rooney and Debbie McLane dropped out for the third go-around, but nobody got enough votes to claim a majority. At that point, Jeff Wasowicz, who had not received many votes throughout the afternoon, dropped out.
The final tally pushed Ken Bennett over the top leaving Chris Kuknyo as the runner up.