Several prominent Republicans have called for Rep. David Stringer to resign from the Legislature over racist comments he made recently, though his two seatmates in his Yavapai County-based legislative district aren’t among them.
Sen. Karen Fann, the incoming Senate president declined to comment on whether Stringer should resign, telling the Arizona Mirror on Monday that, though she and Stringer both represent Legislative District 1, it would be inappropriate for a senator to comment on a House matter. She said she’s waiting to see what action the House of Representatives takes, as well as what positions the Arizona Republican Party and Yavapai County Republican Party take.
Fann also said Stringer has faced other allegations, and that she would like to see the people who have made them step forward “so everyone can hear exactly what the stories are.”
“I’m not prepared to make a statement at this time because I am waiting to see what they are going to do over in the House and what they’re going to do on the state and county level first,” Fann said.
Rep. Noel Campbell had far less to say about his seatmate. When reached by the Arizona Mirror, Campbell said he has no comment on the matter and hung up the phone.
Other Republicans were more vocal about Stringer. Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday said he still stands by the call he made for Stringer to resign over the summer, after a Democratic candidate posted video of him making racist remarks about Latinos on Twitter.
“I’ve said before that I think what Rep. Stringer has said is disqualifying,” Ducey told reporters following the certification of the 2018 general election canvass in the Historic Capitol building.
Ducey also said he agrees with incoming House Speaker Rusty Bowers’ decision to strip Stringer of his chairmanship of the House Recidivism and Sentencing Reform Committee. But the governor wouldn’t elaborate on what, if any other actions should be taken against Stringer, or what should be done if Stringer won’t resign from his seat.
“The rest will be left to the Legislature and the people,” he said.
Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Lines, who called on Stringer to resign over the summer, initially said that the loss of his committee chairmanship was an appropriate punishment.
JUST IN @AZGOP Chair @JWLines backs off June call for Stringer to resign, maybe cuz YavapaiCo voters re-elected him 24 days ago, But Lines does smack Stringer for ‘racist commentary … out of touch with reality.’ pic.twitter.com/O0JoBzVGTv
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) November 30, 2018
But several hours later, Lines wrote on Twitter that Stringer should resign.
This summer, I called on Representative David Stringer to resign for the good of our state and our party. It was the right call then, and in light of his recent comments, it’s the right call today.
— Jonathan W. Lines (@JWLines) December 1, 2018
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk also reiterated her previous call for Stringer’s resignation, tweeting on Friday, “His comments are a disgrace and his views do not reflect the sentiments of our state. He should have no seat at the AZ Legislature.” And Prescott’s Daily Courier reported on Saturday that Greg Mengarelli and Billie Orr, the city’s mayor and mayor pro tem, respectively, said Stringer should resign from the Legislature.
Bowers said Monday that whether Stringer should continue serving in the House is up to Stringer and the voters of District 1. Stringer will continue to serve on House committees, though Bowers said he also removed Stringer as vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The recent controversy began on Friday when the Phoenix New Times released audio recordings of Stringer telling students at Arizona State University that African-Americans and other non-whites “don’t blend in,” while white immigrants and their children look like other white Americans. Over the summer, Stringer came under fire for telling a Yavapai County Republican Men’s Forum that immigration poses an “existential threat” to the United States and that there “aren’t enough white kids to go around” in Arizona’s public schools.