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Sen. Schapira picks fourth Arizona Redistricting Commission member

Senate Minority Leader David Schapira has picked the fourth Redistricting Commission member, Linda McNulty, from Tucson.

The four members will now pick the fifth, who will be chairman, from a list of five Independents.

From a Senate Democrats press release:

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Senate Minority Leader David Schapira announced today that he has selected Linda McNulty to serve on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

“Linda McNulty is an exceptionally well qualified candidate, and Arizonans will be well-served by her appointment to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission,” said Schapira. “We were fortunate to have many great candidates from which to choose. Linda has a sharp legal mind, has traveled throughout Arizona and will dedicate herself to creating Congressional and Legislative districts that both give voters a choice in general elections and protect communities of interest.”

McNulty, a Tucson resident and partner at the law firm of Lewis and Roca, earned a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Rochester and a J.D. from the University of Arizona. McNulty has been practicing law for nearly 25 years and focuses her work in the areas of real estate, financing, business transactions and natural resources law.

McNulty serves her community as the Director of the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority, the President-elect of the Tucson Chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.

The other members of the commission are: Republcians Scott Freeman (Maricopa County) and Rick Stertz (Pima County) and Democrat Chad Campbell (Maricopa County).

Four of the five Independents are from Maricopa County, the fifth from Pima County, meaning depending on who gets picked either Maricopa County or Pima will have three members on the commission. Of the 25 finalists, 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans and five Independents, only three, all Democrats, were from counties other than Pima or Maricopa.

Here’s the list of Independents:

Paul Bender (Maricopa County) -  a lawyer, Harvard Law graduate and former dean of the ASU College of Law, he is the most controversial of the five. House Speaker Kirk Adams and Senate President Russell Pearce tried to have him removed from the list of finalists but a Superior Court judge refused. Most of his controversy comes from his long career in federal government including in the Nixon administration mostly defending the First Amendment rights of pornographers and later in the Clinton Administration. Chances of either Republican commissioner voting for Bender as chairman are quite slim.

Raymond Frank Bladine (Maricopa) – a former Phoenix assistant city manager, he also has had questions raised about his “independence” because he’s served as an adviser to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, a Democrat.

Margarita Silva (Maricopa County) – Phoenix lawyer with ties to both Pima and Maricopa counties having grown up in Tucson and getting her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona but getting her law degree at ASU. She listed very little political activity in her application other than contributing money to campaigns or putting signs in her yard (don’t know yet who she gave money too or whose signs she put up, Ds or Rs or both).

Kimber Layne Lanning (Maricopa County) – a Phoenix business woman who is also the founder and executive director of a “buy local” nonprofit in the Phoenix area. She has raised funds for many candidates, mostly Democrats, but a few Republicans including Phoenix City Council firebrand Sal Diciccio.

Colleen Coyle Mathis (Pima County) – a Tucson environmental science and economist with a master’s degree from Yale, she described herself as a former Republican and “post-partisan” with zero previous political activity in Arizona since moving here in 2001.

If the two Democrats and two Republicans can’t decide within the next 15 days which of these five will be the chairman, state law calls for the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which picked the 25 finalists, to pick the chairman.

My early handicapping thinks Bladine will get three votes and be the chairman. Bender’s damaged goods, Mathis and Silva are political neophytes and likely ill-suited for heading up a commission that will be heavily harassed, harried and harangued by just about everyone with a stake in the redistricting outcome, and Lanning has spent too much time working for Democrats to suit the uber-partisan sentiments of Adams and Pearce.

I also think Bladine will get the nod because there is a real fear that the appointments commission could pick Bender.

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