Democrats are asking state Rep. Daniel Patterson to step down from the Legislature today after Patterson allegedly beat and bruised his girlfriend and stole her dog over the weekend.
House Minority leader Chad Campbell this afternoon called for Patterson to resign. Campbell said he hoped that Patterson, D-Tucson, would take the advice and leave the easy way.
“We are going to ask him to step down,” Campbell said. “His constituents deserve someone who can focus on the responsibilities of the office.”
"He needs to be held to the same legal standard as every other citizen of the state," Campbell said.
And despite years of allegations that Patterson has been physically and verbally abusive to his family and friends, Campbell said he has never had enough evidence to actually go after Patterson until now.
Patterson doesn’t have many friends left at the Capitol — Republicans make no secret about their feelings toward the second-term lawmaker, and even his Democratic co-workers are bailing on him quickly.
“I’m very concerned,” said Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, earlier in the morning. “And if its true, he’s on his own.”
Rep. Macario Saldate, D-Tucson, said he’s heard the accusations, and if they turn out to be true, he wants Patterson out of the Legislature.
“Absolutely (I would support ethics hearings), that’s an appropriate way to go, I support that,” he said.
If Patterson decides not to step down (he so far hasn’t returned phone calls from the Tucson Weekly), House Democrats are ready to file a formal ethics complaint against him, said Murphy Herbert, the House Democrats’ spokeswoman.
Rep. Ted Vogt, R-Tucson, is chairman of the House Ethics Committee and it would his decision to hold an ethics investigation—like the process Sen. Scott Bundgaard faced late last year after he stopped on the side of a Phoenix freeway and hit his girlfriend. Bundgaard eventually resigned rather than testify before the committee.
Vogt said he hasn’t yet received a formal complaint, which he would need to open an investigation.
Republicans took no time to start throwing their own punches.
State Sen. Frank Antenori said serious accusations have been swirling around Patterson for years, and it’s about time he got what’s coming to him.
“It’s like karma,” he said. “What goes around comes around.”