Friday, August 3, 2012
As early ballots land in mailboxes around the state, candidates are hitting the hot and dusty campaign trail, touting their credentials and endorsements.
But there’s one endorsement nobody is touting.
Former state Rep. Daniel Patterson, a Democrat-turned-independent from Tucson who was forced out of the Legislature this year after allegations of wide-ranging ethics violations, released his “picks” for the primary election on his blog this week.
Recommendations include far-right-winger and state Sen. Ron Gould in Congressional District 4, as well as his former Democratic colleague, Rep. Matt Heinz, in Congressional District 2.
The list of voter recommendations came just two weeks before Patterson is due in court on several charges of domestic violence and violating two different restraining orders against him.
Besides the alleged domestic violence incident with his then-girlfriend Georgette Escobar that blew up his career, court documents obtained by the Weekly show that Patterson is facing criminal charges for violating restraining orders by both his ex-wife and Escobar.
“It was both of them, actually,” said Tucson City Prosecutor Baird Greene when the Skinny called him to clarify which woman Patterson had had unwanted contact with.
“Initially he was accused of violating the (restraining) order in regards to Georgette Escobar, and the second instance, the one in which (the judge ordered a bail) that was concerning some contact with his ex-wife,” Greene said.
The documents show Patterson turned himself in to Tucson City Court on July 5 and was released on a $500 bail.
The circumstances surrounding Patterson are not your typical day-in-court stuff.
After he was served with the restraining orders in March 2012, Patterson claimed he had legislative immunity from the restraining orders and continued to contact the women by phone, email and voice mail —at least nine times in one of the cases, according to court records. He told his ex-wife he was not a threat and he wanted to see his daughter, and emailed Escobar that “We can both get treatment. I know you keep your promises to work on dealing with your dsyfunctional (sic) family just like me.”
Patterson’s court date on all the charges is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13. Each of the two counts of harassment for violating the restraining orders could carry a maximum of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine, as well as probation. The three counts of domestic violence could carry a maximum penalty of a combined 14 months in jail and a $4,000 fine, as well as probation.
The Skinny tried to contact Patterson and received a text message saying “I’m a private citizen now, please respect my privacy.”
Given Patterson's legal woes, it’s not surprising that political campaigns want nothing to do with him.
In his bid to replace congressman Ron Barber, Heinz didn’t ask for Patterson’s help, said Evan Hutchinson, Heinz’s campaign manager.
“No, it's not something we pursued. What’s that one who endorsed (Congressional candidate Jesse) Kelly before? ALIPAC? At least it’s not that,” Hutchinson said referring to that viral moment when Kelly refused to answer questions about his endorsement from American for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been denounced as having ties to white supremacist groups.
“Patterson’s free to support whoever he likes,” Hutchinson said. “He’s a former colleague (of Heinz) and that’s it. That’s our view of it. You know, what are you gonna do?”
Republican Congressional candidate Gould didn’t ask for Patterson’s endorsement in the primary either, and didn’t want it, said his campaign manager, Patrick Gerhart.
“We’ve haven’t had any contact with him at all,” he said. “And I’m going to say we won't be putting that on our literature.”
Rep. Katie Hobbs, a Phoenix Democrat who filed the ethics complaint that lead to Patterson’s forced-resignation from the Legislature, said she wasn't surprised that Patterson endorsed her opponent.
"Seriously, if he would have endorsed me, I would have probably called and asked him to take it down," she said.