by Jim Nintzel
Republican Jonathan Paton will be resigning his state Senate seat to jump into the Congressional District 8 against Democrat Gabrielle Giffords later this year.
District 30 state Rep. Frank Antenori has already announced he plans to run for Paton’s Senate seat later this year.
“A lot of folks are happy with me and they want to make sure that seat stays relatively conservative and doesn’t get occupied by a softer, squishier Republican,” Antenori says.
Antenori is also in the hunt for an appointment to the seat when Paton resigns later this year, but Antenori’s conservative leanings don’t exactly match up with the Pima County Board of Supervisors’ liberal politics.
The Board of Supes has the final say over the appointment, but they have to pick from three names submitted by District 30 precinct committeemen.
Antenori suggests supervisors may be sorry if they don’t pick him.
“I’ve done a lot to work with Pima County and protect them from a lot of the stuff that was going on in Phoenix,” Antenori says. “I think the Board of Supervisors would much rather have a guy in the Senate that has been working with them than a guy who is working against them. I think they’d rather have a happy Frank Antenori rather than an angry Frank Antenori.”
But Antenori quickly adds: “I’m not trying to threaten anybody, don’t say I’m trying to threaten anybody.”
Antenori is facing a challenger for the Senate seat: Republican Marian McClure, who represented District 30 for eight years before reaching her term limit in 2008, tells us she’s “throwing her hat back into the ring.”
McClure says she’ll also be appealing to District 30’s precinct leaders to try to get her name forwarded to the Pima County Board of Supervisors.
But even if she doesn’t land the appointment, McClure says she’s ready to fight Antenori in this year’s Republican primary.
“I think the state of Arizona needs somebody with some experience, and that’s why I’m running,” McClure says.