Both Begays out of races

WINDOW ROCK

Candace Begody-Begay (left) and Carlyle Begay.

Candace Begody-Begay (left) and Carlyle Begay.

Both former Navajo Times editor Candace Begody-Begay and her husband, Arizona State Sen. Carlyle Begay, are out of their respective political races.

Begody-Begay had filed for the Dist. 7 seat now occupied by Begay, and Begay was running in the Republican primary for Congress.

Begody-Begay was disqualified Friday after more than half the signatures on her campaign petition were found to be invalid, and four days later, Begay announced he was dropping out and backing Pima County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

Begay, who did not return a phone call from the Times, told Phoenix media the Republican field for the Arizona Dist. 1 Congressional seat now held by Ann Kirkpatrick was too crowded and he felt like he was “playing catch-up.”

The state senator made headlines last year when he switched parties mid-term.

Begody-Begay resigned from the Navajo Times after announcing her candidacy for Begay’s seat last month.

Under state law she was required to get 294 signatures on her candidate petition, and had turned in 325. But Eric Kramer of Pinetop, Arizona, head of the Democratic Party in Navajo County, challenged those signatures, claiming at least 226 were not valid for various reasons including misspelled names, wrong addresses, living outside her district and not being registered Republicans.

On Friday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Susan Brnovich ruled in Kramer’s favor after Begody-Begay did not show up for a scheduled hearing on the signature challenge.

Begody-Begay told the Times she had a family emergency come up and had tried to notify the court Friday morning. “I called at least 20 numbers of court personnel, but everybody down to the bailiff was at some kind of training,” she said.

The candidate said her small team did try to verify signatures as best they could, “but we came up against time pressure.”

In an interview on Monday, Kramer said that’s no excuse.

“I imagine it’s hard to find 300 Navajo Republicans,” he acknowledged, “but if she had come down to Show Low, she could have gotten those signatures in a day.”

According to Arizona’s “sore loser” law, Begody-Begay will be ineligible to run as a write-in candidate. She will also have to pay Kramer’s legal fees, Brnovich ruled.

Begody-Begay said the real losers are the voters who won’t have the option of voting for a Republican in Dist. 7. She had been the only Republican in the race.
Carlyle Begay had started a lot of initiatives in education and development that Begody-Begay said she was hoping to continue.

“It’s safe to say there will be very little change in our district,” she said. “The voters are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences.”

Begody-Begay said now that she is out of the race she will turn her attention to graduate school, “which has been my plan all along.”

One of Begody-Begay’s Democratic challengers, Steven C. Begay (no relation) said he turned in 1,389 signatures so he would have plenty in case some of his were challenged.

Begay said he wished Begody-Begay the best in future endeavors.

“I hate to be negative about it. She did give it a try. But not having enough signatures – that won’t get you past the first step,” said Begay in a phone interview. “That’s just the way the ball bounces. I hope for the best for her.”


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Categories: Politics