Former State Representative and Senator Don Shooter is seeking another term in the Arizona Legislature from LD 13. But This campaign is different. Shooter was expelled early this year from the House after accusations of sexual harassment.
KAWC's Kim Johnson spoke with Shooter about his campaign and why he wants to see the full report that led to his expulsion.
Kim Johnson: I spoke with the longtime legislator at the Yuma County Chamber Legislative Forum early this month. Shooter is facing incumbent Sine Kerr and Brent Backus in the August 28th Republican Primary for State Senate. The winner advances to the November General Election.
Shooter was expelled from the State House in February after a House investigative report alleged "a pattern of sexual harassment" by Shooter against several women, including two legislators. After the forum, the State Senate candidate said the details in the sealed House investigative report would vindicate him and his candidacy.
Don Shooter: Well yeah but, but nobody knows the truth. I'm spending tens of thousands of dollars to get that report released. If I was such an heinous creature don't you thing they would want to put that out? But they don't they're hiding it. You know why? Because most of my accusers, let's put it this way. Two of my fellow house members that were female accusers of mine were having sex, or trying to have sex, with staffers of both genders. That's why that report is sealed.
Because I was never accused of anything like that, nothing like that. I was judged, and the reason they wanted me out had to do with corrupt contracts, but that's another story. Things, you know, it's House of Cards stuff, it's House of Cards. But anyway. The, the reason they wanted me out had nothing to do with sexual harassment. That was the tool they, they used to do it. And if you look at that, you'll see that I was judged by a standard, that was a floating standard, and it was really a zero tolerance retroactively applied six years later. That's illegal as hell, and in the courts I'm gonna win. And sadly I'm gonna take some of the taxpayer's money, but that's another story.
Johnson: What, what's been the reaction of people at events like this?
Shooter: The people that don't like me don't like me and I think the people that like me like me. I don't know that anything has changed but I'll tell you this. Most people realize that I have done a good job for Yuma County. Nobody can say that I haven't done great things for Yuma County, they can't.
Yuma got a carve out on its ah, wifi system that was the only city in, in Arizona to get that. I got a total of sixty some odd million, sixty eight million for the J-Teds, eight of which went to Yuma. Which we never had any money if you didn't know that before. We, we were the only county in Arizona that did not have a J-Teds. So I've done some great things for Yuma County. So if you want to vote for a good legislator you'd you'd vote for me.
Johnson: You've been an advocate for Yuma's water supply.
Shooter: Oh yeah, absolutely! And I'll tell ya the water wars are coming, and they're doing it really subtly. There are two groups spending a hundred thousand dollars each, to kill me. What does that tell ya? Now let's see who the two groups are. The first group is Greater Phoenix Leadership. Can anybody think of ah, a town in Arizona that might want to get Yuma's water? Yeah, GPL, it's Greater Phoenix Leadership.
Ah, the second one, the realtors. There is a law in existence right now that you have to have a hundred year water supply if you are going to put one damn house on a piece of property. Hummm, huugh, so do they want, and this is no offense to Sine Kerr. She's a wonderful lady, a good lady. I got nothing bad to say. But if I'm going to war, I want a guy that's had three tours of duty with General Patton, not somebody who just got out of boot camp.
Johnson: Just expanding a little bit on that then. You see your experience as a key?
Shooter: There's no question about it, and that's why they wanted me out so badly. Five days before the shananigans with, and I could get into it and its tedious and everything else, but I, five days before the shananigans happened I went up to Kirk Adams and he said, "Are you going to support our water plan? And I said absolutely not, absolutely not."
There's only two places you can get water. You can get it from the Indians and you can get it from the Yuma. And the Indians you have to go through a bunch of Federal stuff and everything else. So guess where they're gonna come after? They're gonna come after Yuma its water. And I'm not gonna support ya.
And he said, "Oh your farmers love it." And I said, "I don't believe one thing your saying cause I know my farmers and I know they don't love givin up their water." So five days later the shananigans comes up-figure it out.
Johnson: So as it stands right now where do you see things?
Shooter: We did a poll two or three weeks ago and I was up twenty. And there was a large undecided, which is ah, absolutely normal this time, ya know. So let the voters speak. If they think I was a good legislator vote for me. I think there's an undervote, much like Trump. I think people aren't going to admit they're gonna to vote for me, but maybe they are. And so we'll find out if that's true. And if it's not then I, I've done my piece, I've filled my duty. Nobody can ever say I did anything to betray the confidence of the people that sent me there, nobody.
Johnson: So I just want to get this well defined in my mind. Are you saying that if you don't win in the primary we won't see Don Shooter's name on any more election ballots?
Shooter: That's my hope...laughter.
Johnson: The winner between Shooter, Kerr and Backus will face Democrat Michelle Harris in November. I'm Kim Johnson, KAWC News.