Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink has yanked a proposition that would kill Clean Elections off the 2012 ballot.
The prop, referred to the ballot by the Legislature earlier this year, was not a straight-up appeal of Clean Elections; instead, it amended the Arizona Constitution to prevent any public funds from being spent on political campaigns, so it overruled the Clean Elections statute that provides funding to candidates.
Former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton, who pushed the referendum through the Legislature earlier this year, did not rule out an appeal, but tells The Range that a more likely route would be pushing a new referendum that would pass legal muster through the Legislature next year. The legal issue revolves around how money now earmarked for political campaigns in the state and the city of Tucson would be spent in the future.
"We’ll be back," he tells The Range. "It's a relatively easy issue to fix."
We'll dig in more on Friday's Arizona Illustrated Political Roundtable and in next week's print edition.