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Candidate challenges filed in Arizona's competitive Congressional District 1

Two candidates who want to unseat Republican Congressman David Schweikert are facing legal challenges claiming they failed to qualify for the ballot in Arizona’s Congressional District 1.

Marlene Galán-Woods is one of six candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Schweikert in the general election.

All of those candidates needed to collect 1,495 signatures from registered Democratic voters in the Scottsdale-area district to qualify for the ballot.

Galán-Woods, the widow of former Republican Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, turned in over 2,400 signatures. But a lawsuit filed by three CD1 residents alleges that over 1,100 of those signatures were invalid.

They accuse Galán-Woods of a number of petition deficiencies, including that 240 signatures came from people not registered to vote in CD1 and that 446 signatures were collected by three circulators who were ineligible to collect signatures because of past felony convictions.

The legal challenge cited an Arizona law requiring circulators “be qualified to register to vote in this state.” Under Arizona law, individuals convicted of a felony are not qualified to register to vote unless their civil rights are restored.

The lawsuit also alleged 62 signatures are invalid because Galán-Woods signed petition sheets indicating she collected the signatures but they were actually collected by someone else.

Leslie Lerman, one of the residents who filed the complaint, has donated $850 to one of Galan-Woods’ Democratic opponents, Andrei Cherny.

The challenge is scheduled to go to trial on April 24.

Galán-Woods’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

In the Republican primary, candidate Robert Backie filed a similar challenge against fellow Republican Kim George’s candidacy.

Republican candidates in CD1 needed to collect 1,742 signatures from Republicans in the district to qualify for the ballot.

George filed over 2,800 signatures with the Secretary of State’s Office, but Backie alleges at least 1,400 of those signatures are invalid.

Backie’s legal complaint claims that over 1,000 of those signatures were collected by out-of-state circulators who were not properly registered with the Secretary of State.

If the challenge is successful, it would set up a one-on-one matchup between Backie and Schweikert in the CD1 Republican primary.

The challenge is scheduled to go to trial on April 22.


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