Stories about Arizona

Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould retires

Andrew Gould retired as an associate justice of the Arizona Supreme Court on April 1. He had announced that he would retire from the court on March 12.

Governor Doug Ducey (R) appointed Gould to the state supreme court on Nov. 28, 2016, after a new bill expanded the court from five justices to seven. Gould won a retention election in 2020, receiving 68.1% of the vote. His current term would have expired in January 2027.

Ducey will appoint a replacement justice to the state supreme court to fill this vacancy. Newly-appointed judges must stand for retention to remain on the court during the next general election after they serve at least two years on the bench.

The Arizona Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. Republican governors appointed all seven judges on the court. Governor Ducey appointed five, and former Gov. Janice Kay Brewer (R) appointed two.

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Arizona supreme court justice schedules retirement

Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould has scheduled his retirement for April 1, 2021. Gould’s replacement will be Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s (R) sixth nominee to the seven-member supreme court.

Under Arizona law, justices on the Arizona Supreme Court are selected through the assisted appointment method for six-year renewable terms. Following the initial appointment, judges are subject to a retention election in the next general election which occurs more than two years after the appointment.

Gould joined the Arizona Supreme Court in 2016. He was appointed by Governor Ducey.

Before serving on the state supreme court, Gould served as a judge with Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals from 2011 to 2016. He served as a judge with the Yuma County Superior Court from 2001 to 2011. Gould served as chief civil deputy for the Yuma County Attorney’s Office from 1999 to 2001. Previously, he worked as a civil litigator in private practice.

Following Gould’s retirement, the Arizona Supreme Court will include the following members:

• Robert Brutinel, appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in 2010

• Ann Timmer, appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in 2012

• Clint Bolick, appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in 2016

• John Lopez IV, appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in 2016

• James Beene, appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in 2019

• Bill Montgomery, appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in 2019

In 2021, there have been 10 supreme court vacancies in nine of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies have been caused by retirements.

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Arizona is 7th state to order in-person school instruction, others schedule openings

On March 15, Arizona became the seventh state to require at least part-time instruction for certain grade levels. Oregon will join the list in two weeks, and Washington will join in three.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R-Ariz.) March 3 executive order requiring public schools to offer in-person instruction took effect March 15. High schools and middle schools in high-transmission counties are exempt from the order. Parents can still keep their children in virtual classes.

On March 12, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued an executive order requiring public elementary schools to reopen no later than March 29 for hybrid or full-time in-person instruction. The order also requires public schools to open for grades 6-12 by April 19. Parents can still keep their children in fully remote instruction.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) also said on March 12 he will soon issue an emergency proclamation requiring elementary schools to provide students at least two partial days of in-person instruction by April 5. Schools must provide older students the same by April 19. As of March 15, Inslee had not signed the proclamation.  

All three states had previously left reopening decisions to school districts.


  • Four states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.M.) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
  • Five states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, N.H., Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction
  • Two states (Ariz., W.Va.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
  • Thirty-nine states left decisions to schools or districts

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) will not seek re-election in 2022

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) announced on March 12 that she would not run for re-election in 2022. Kirkpatrick was first elected to the U.S. House in 2008 before losing her bid for re-election in 2010. She was elected back to the U.S. House in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, but she made an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in 2016 rather than campaign for re-election. She was elected back to the U.S. House in 2018 and re-elected in 2020 with 55% of the general election vote.

Kirkpatrick is the first member of the U.S. House to announce that she would not run for re-election in 2022. Five members of the U.S. Senate, all Republicans, have announced they will not run for re-election.

Thirty-six members of the U.S. House did not run for re-election in 2020—26 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Libertarian. In 2018, 52 members of the U.S. House did not run for re-election, including 34 Republicans and 18 Democrats.

All 435 U.S. House seats will be up for election next year. Democrats currently have a 220-211 majority with four vacant seats.

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Arlando Teller leaves Arizona state House for Biden administration

Rep. Arlando Teller (D) resigned from the Arizona House of Representatives on Feb. 1 to join the Biden administration as deputy assistant secretary for tribal affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation. He represented District 7 from 2019 to 2021. 

Teller most recently won re-election on Nov. 3, 2020. He was one of two candidates elected to the two-seat district, the other being Myron Tsosie (D). Upon resigning, Teller said, “It has been nothing but a pleasure — sincere pleasure working with all of you despite our disagreements, despite our party affiliation. At the end of the day, we have worked for the communities that we represent.”

According to Arizona’s Revised Statutes, state legislative vacancies are filled by the board of county supervisors. However, the political party committee of the last incumbent submits a list to the board of county supervisors who must then choose the new member from the list.

As of Feb. 8, 2021, there have been 23 state legislative vacancies in 18 states this year. Five of those vacancies have been filled, with 18 vacancies remaining. Teller’s vacancy is one of 11 Democratic vacancies to have occurred in 2021. So far, three vacancies have been filled by Democrats, while two have been filled by Republicans.

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Election still undecided in New York’s 22nd Congressional District

Results in the Nov. 3 U.S. House election in New York’s 22nd Congressional District have not yet been certified. The latest vote count, completed on Dec. 30, showed former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) with a 29-vote lead over incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D). This race was one of 56 U.S. House rematches from 2018, when Brindisi defeated Tenney 51% to 49%.

Litigation over the validity of certain absentee and affidavit ballots began the day following the election and is ongoing. Problems with mislaid ballots, missing documentation of ballot challenges, and errors in vote tabulation slowed the process.

Oswego County Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte has not made a final ruling on these issues, and official results have not been certified. DelConte also asked both campaigns to file legal briefs by Jan. 14 on 2,418 voter registration applications submitted through the Department of Motor Vehicles that the county board of elections did not process before election day. These voters had the option to cast an affidavit ballot, but these ballots weren’t counted since it appeared the voters weren’t registered. At least 63 affidavit ballots from this group are being reviewed.

Final oral arguments on all court proceedings in the case are scheduled for Jan. 22.

Here are some other recent elections where the result was not confirmed until weeks after the elections:

  1. In 2018, the North Carolina Board of Elections did not certify the results in the 9th Congressional District race and voted unanimously to call for a new election on Feb. 21, 2019. Rep. Dan Bishop (R) won the special election on Sept. 10, 2019. 
  2. In the 2016 North Carolina governor’s race, incumbent Pat McCrory (R) conceded on Dec. 5, 2016, after a recount in Durham County verified that Roy Cooper (D) would remain ahead. 
  3. In 2014, Martha McSally (R) was declared the winner over incumbent Ron Barber (D) in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District at the conclusion of a recount on Dec. 17, 2014.

Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois decide ballot measures regarding state income taxes

Voters in 12 states voted on 19 ballot measures addressing tax-related policies on Nov. 3. Ten of the measures addressed taxes on properties, three were related to income tax rates, two addressed tobacco taxes, one addressed business-related taxes, one addressed sales tax rates, one addressed fees and surcharges, and one was related to tax-increment financing (TIF).

The three measures concerning state income taxes were on the ballot in Arizona, Colorado, and Illinois. Arizona voters approved a measure to add a surtax for income above a certain level to fund education. Colorado voters approved an income tax decrease. Illinois voters defeated a measure to allow for a graduated income tax.

Arizona Proposition 208 was approved by a vote of 51.75% to 48.25%. The measure enacted a 3.50% income tax, in addition to the existing income tax, on taxable income above $250,000 (single filing) or $500,000 (joint filing). As of 2020, the highest income tax in Arizona was 4.50%, which was levied on income above $159,000 (single filing) or $318,000 (joint filing). Based on the existing income tax rates, the ballot initiative has the effect of increasing the tax rate from 4.50% to 8.00% on income above $250,000 (single filing) or $500,000 (joint filing). The Invest in Education PAC was registered in support of the ballot initiative. The PAC received $21.6 million in contributions. The Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy and No on 208 PACs were registered in opposition to the ballot initiative. The PACs received $5.7 million in contributions.

Colorado Proposition 116 was designed to decrease the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55% for individuals, estates, trusts, and foreign and domestic C corporations operating in Colorado. It was approved by a vote of 57.88% to 42.12%.

The Colorado individual income tax rate has been a flat tax rate since 1987. The flat tax was 5% from 1987 to 1998. It was lowered to 4.75% in 1999. The rate has been 4.63% since 2000. Energize our Economy (306 Real Fair Tax) and Americans for Prosperity Colorado Issue Committee raised $1.55 million in contributions to support the measure. Protect Colorado’s Recovery and Fair Tax Colorado reported $3.19 million in contributions to oppose the measure.

An amendment to authorize the state to enact legislation providing for a graduated income tax was on the ballot in Illinois where it was defeated by a vote of 45.46% to 54.54%. The ballot measure would have repealed the state’s constitutional requirement that the state’s personal income tax is a flat rate across income. Instead, the ballot measure would have allowed the state to enact legislation for a graduated income tax. In Illinois, income is taxed at a flat rate of 4.95%.

The Vote Yes For Fairness, Vote Yes for Fair Tax, and Yes to a Financially Responsible Illinois PACs were registered to support the constitutional amendment. Together, the committees had raised $60.33 million. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) contributed 94 percent of the PACs’ total combined funds.

The Vote No On The Blank Check Amendment, Coalition To Stop The Proposed Tax Hike, and Chambers Against Progressive Income Tax PACs were registered to oppose the constitutional amendment. Together, the committees had raised $60.86 million. Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel, contributed 88 percent of the PACs’ total combined funds.

Going into the 2020 election, 43 states levied a tax on personal income. Of these 43 states, 11 states had a flat income tax rate, meaning there is a constant rate across income before deductions and exemptions. The flat income tax rates ranged from 2.00% in Tennessee to 5.25% in North Carolina. Tennessee’s income tax was scheduled to be reduced to 1.00% in 2020 and to be repealed entirely in 2021. Most (32 of 50) states had a graduated income tax, with different rates applied to different levels of income.

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At least four mayoral offices changed partisan control in the 100 largest cities Nov. 3

Twenty-nine of the 100 largest U.S. cities held mayoral elections in 2020. Of the 24 elections called so far, four party changes have taken place, with Republicans losing three offices and Democrats losing one. Democrats and independents each flipped two offices:

• In Honolulu, Hawaii, independent Rick Blangiardi won the open seat. Democratic mayor Kirk Caldwell was term-limited.

• In Irvine, California, Democrat Farrah Khan defeated incumbent Christina Shea (R).

• In San Diego, California, Democrat Todd Gloria won the open seat. The incumbent, Kevin Faulconer (R), was term-limited.

• In Scottsdale, Arizona, independent David Ortega won the open seat. Incumbent Jim Lane (R) was term-limited.

In those four cities—and in most of the nation’s largest cities—mayoral elections are officially nonpartisan, though many officeholders and candidates are affiliated with political parties. Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.

Democratic mayors oversaw 64 of the 100 largest cities at the beginning of 2020.

In 15 of the 29 cities that held elections in 2020, the incumbent was Republican at the start of 2020. Twelve incumbents were Democratic, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan.

Mayoral races in Riverside and Stockton, California, remain undecided. December runoff elections for mayor will be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Dec. 5); Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 12); and El Paso, Texas (Dec. 15).

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Kelly declared winner over McSally in AZ special Senate election

Mark Kelly (D) defeated incumbent Martha McSally and 17 write-in candidates in the special election for U.S. Senate in Arizona. Kelly will fill the rest of the late-Sen. John McCain’s (R) term. The seat will be up for election in 2022.

In the 2018 general election, McSally ran for Arizona’s other Senate seat, losing to Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47.6% to 50.0%. After the election, interim Sen. Jon Kyl (R) announced his resignation and Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced McSally as Kyl’s replacement in December 2018.

Before the election, Republicans had a 53-47 majority in the Senate. As of noon ET on November 6, two other seats besides Arizona’s had changed party hands. Tommy Tuberville (R) beat incumbent Doug Jones (D) in Alabama, and John Hickenlooper (D) beat incumbent Cory Gardner (R) in Colorado. Five races remain uncalled. 

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Schweikert wins re-election in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District

Incumbent Rep. David Schweikert (R) defeated Hiral Tipirneni (D) in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District election.

Schweikert was first elected in 2010. He was re-elected in 2018 with 55% to Anita Malik’s (D) 45%. Tipirneni was the Democratic nominee in the special and regular elections for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in 2018. She lost to incumbent Debbie Lesko (R) 48% to 52% and 44.5% to 55.5%, respectively.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House. Republicans need to win a net 21 seats to win control of the chamber.