Constable seat decided by Republicans

August 29, 2018

Nearly 20 percent the people who voted in Lake Havasu City didn’t get a say in picking Martin Standsberry as the city’s next county constable.

As of Aug. 1, there were 35,358 active registered voters in Lake Havasu City’s voting precincts. But in an all-Republican constabulary race, that means the race is decided in the primary election

Lake Havasu City Constable Bob Crabtree will finish his final term in office after 12 years of service to Havasu’s Justice Court after a recent injury. According to him, the partisan nature of constable as an elected position is simply the way it’s always been done.

“Democrats and independents tend not to run for constable. I don’t know why they don’t put someone up. It is what it is. We’re stuck with what we’ve got.”

The county’s constables act as process servers for justice courts in Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City and other areas of Mohave County. They are also authorized to execute eviction orders, to provide security in the county’s justice courts, and a bevy of other duties relating to the courts’ functions, according to the Arizona Constable Ethics, Standards and Training Board.

According to constable candidate Robert Starkey, the partisan nature of the position is inappropriate.

“I think everyone should be able to vote for their constable, just like I think they should be able to vote for their sheriff,” Starkey said. “It’s not so much a political position – a constable is an officer of the court, serving paperwork. It’s a job. Constables don’t make any political decisions…it’s not political in nature.”

According to Starkey, however, the lack of Democratic or independent candidates may not be so much a matter of disinterest.

“Republicans made up the majority of people I met while campaigning,” Starkey said. “Out of the 700-plus signatures I needed to run, I only encountered three Democrats. There don’t appear to be a high number of Democrats in Havasu.”

Standsberry had a similar experience in gaining signatures for his own constabulary campaign, but for a different reason.

“I’m confused about why it’s partisan,” Standsberry said. “Once you’re in, there’s nothing political about the position. You have to represent everyone in the city. But probably about 25 percent of people were unable to sign my petition because they weren’t registered Republican or Independent.”

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