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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Lawsuit filed against Rep. Ethan Orr, presence on primary ballot challenged

Grace Pierson
Grace Pierson/The Daily Wildcat At the SB-1062 protest on Friday afternoon, House Representative Ethan Orr (R) spoke at the protest start at Wingspan and shared his opposition for SB-1062, citing it’s uncivil and discriminatory.

Pima County Democrats filed a lawsuit against Republican Rep. Ethan Orr (R-District 9) last week claiming he did not collect enough signatures on his nominating petitions to qualify for re-election.

Attorney Jeff Rogers filed the lawsuit on behalf of Tucson resident Paul Hilts. The legal challenge, filed June 10, alleges that as many as 288 signatures were invalid.

If successful, the challenge would have removed Orr, who is also an instructor in the School of Government and Public Policy, from the November ballot, leaving two democratic candidates, Randall Friese, UA associate trauma medical director, and incumbent Victoria Steele (D-District 9).

However, the Pima County Recorder’s Office determined Friday that Orr turned in 393 valid signatures, which is enough to qualify for re-election.

The case was scheduled to go before a Pima County Superior Court judge on Monday. However, Rogers told the Arizona Daily Star that he is withdrawing the lawsuit.

“That challenge never should have been filed,” Orr said. “They were challenging perfectly valid signatures.”

Orr estimated it cost the Pima County Recorder’s office $20,000 to verify his signatures, and said he hopes the Democratic Party will reimburse taxpayers for the money spent.

“My hope is that we stop trying to distract the voters and just focus on the issues,” Orr said.

In a press release, Pima County Democrats accused Orr of disregarding county and municipal codes by putting up campaign signs almost a month early.

“It’s a shame that someone elected to make laws seems unable to follow the law like everyone else,” said Don Jorgensen, Pima County Democratic Party Chair, in the press release.

In addition to legal challenges to his candidacy, Orr was rumored to have lost the endorsement of auto dealer Jim Click, as well as his job as executive director at Linkages, a nonprofit organization founded by Click that helps veterans and developmentally disabled individuals find employment.

However, Orr confirmed that he resigned from Linkages and both he and Click denied rumors of a falling out.

“We’re still very close friends,” Orr said.

Click said on John C. Scott’s radio show that he continues to support Orr politically.

Orr is currently launching a new nonprofit called Simply Clean and Green, which aims to teach jobs skills to the homeless and mentally ill.

“I’ve been at Linkages for ten and a half years and I’m actually very excited to be starting something new,” Orr said.

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