A former Republican constable who lost his re-election last year has switched his voter registration to Democrat so he could apply for a vacancy in his old job.
Brandon Schmoll, a two-term constable for Maricopa County’s Kyrene precinct, which includes Ahwatukee, Guadalupe and parts of Tempe, changed his voter registration on Feb. 15, according to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office. The change came just one day after Kent Rini, the Democrat who defeated Schmoll in the 2018 general election, submitted his letter of resignation.
If a county office becomes vacant, state law requires the Board of Supervisors to fill it with someone of the same political party as the official who was elected to the office. It doesn’t require an appointee to be registered with that party for any designated period of time prior to the vacancy.
The original deadline to apply for the Kyrene constable vacancy was March 8. But after Schmoll was the only applicant, Maricopa County Supervisors Steve Gallardo and Jack Sellers, whose districts include the Kyrene precinct, extended the application period by a week.
“It was because there was just one applicant, and that, obviously, is not a competitive process,” Maricopa County spokesman Fields Moseley said.
There are now eight applicants, including Schmoll. The other applicants are: Mallory Anderson, Talia Fuentes, Derek J. Hannah, Grant A. Harrison, David Lucier, William Mabry III and Cassandra Oliver.
Schmoll’s registration switch was initially reported by the Ahwatukee Foothills News.
It is unclear why Rini resigned barely a month into his term. His one-line resignation letter said only that he was stepping down “due to personal reasons.” Rini did not return a message from the Arizona Mirror.
A constable is on officer of the county justice courts, whose duties include carrying out evictions and serving orders of protection. They are elected to four-year terms. Whoever is appointed to replace Rini will have to run in a special election in 2020 to fill out the remaining two years of the term. The salary for the Kyrene constable position is $48,294.