The Arizona Republican Party is urging GOP leadership in the legislature to steer clear of one particular candidate for the state’s redistricting commission.
In a post on the website Republican Briefs on Monday, the AZGOP questioned the Republican bonafides of Jonathan Allred, a Mesa attorney who works for the microschool services company Prenda. Allred was one of 10 Republicans chosen by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments as finalists for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
The post said Allred used to be a registered Democrat. It also alleged that he had “openly and publicly attacked our Republican President and Republican legislators as they take stands on issues in line with the Republican Party platform,” though it didn’t provide any details. A spokesman for the AZGOP refused to elaborate on the claims.
“To have a questionable representative occupying a Republican selection on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission would put our interests in immediate peril. We cannot allow weak, much less antagonistic, Republicans to fill one of the most important positions in Arizona’s history,” the post read.
Allred told the Arizona Mirror that he was registered as a Democrat in 2008 while a student at Brigham Young University. At the time, he said his views were more aligned with the Democratic Party. He also said he was raised in a conservative environment and attended a conservative school, and that he, like many other people in their 20s, rebelled against the environment in which he was raised.
In 2009, Allred attended Harvard Law School, and said he shortly afterward re-registered as a Republican. He said he views it as a positive thing for people to reevaluate their political views from time to time.
“I’ve learned some things since then. My views have changed, so my party has changed,” Allred said. “In reality, law school did change my views on a lot of things.”
Allred said he sees himself as an American first and that his nationality will always trump party politics.
Allred said he doesn’t know what the AZGOP was referring to when it alleged he publicly attacked Trump and Republican lawmakers. He said he posts on an East Valley political forum on Facebook and that there “might be” something he posted there that raised eyebrows at the state party.
Though he’s a Republican, Allred said he didn’t vote for Trump.
“I think he has been disserviced in a lot of ways. I think a lot of the criticisms against him are overblown. I think a lot of the criticisms against him are on the mark. It’s really, really hard,” said Allred, who wouldn’t say who he voted for in 2016.
Republican and Democratic leaders in both legislative chambers each pick one member of the IRC, and those four partisan commissioners select an independent to serve as the chair. House Speaker Rusty Bowers has until the end of January to make the first pick, though he could make his selection far sooner, which would force the other three caucus leaders to make their selections quickly.
Allred said he’s scheduled to interview with Republican legislative leaders at the Capitol later this week. A spokesman for Bowers would not comment on the speaker and Senate President Karen Fann’s timeline for interviewing applicants.