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States Where You Cannot Make A Safe Run

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on May 28, 2013

By no means am I any less busy than I was before my post stating that I was taking a bit of a break from the blog, but I am trying to crank out a few posts over the next couple of weeks. Many have asked why I was taking the break and I pointed out that a lot of real estate investors have been calling me about potentially flipping houses (Yes, I am a Realtor. Please forgive my shameless plug).

Today, a friend sent me an interesting e-mail about many states having a law stating that you must resign from your current office that you hold in order to run for another one. This type of law would require a candidate to commit to a race and not have the option of making a safe run.

The article did come from Wikipedia and I will openly disclose that now, but I did go through and verify the information on the different websites needed to do so for each state:

Arizona

Section 38-296 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, entitled “Limitation upon filing for election by incumbent of elective office” states:

  1. Except during the final year of the term being served, no incumbent of a salaried elective office, whether holding by-election or appointment, may offer himself for nomination or election to any salaried local, state or federal office.
  2. An incumbent of a salaried elected office shall be deemed to have offered himself for nomination or election to a salaried local, state or federal office upon the filing of a nomination paper pursuant to section 16-311, subsection A or formal public declaration of candidacy for such office whichever occurs first.”

There is no definition of what constitutes a “formal public declaration,” thereby creating an ambiguity that is currently a matter of controversy in Arizona.

Florida

Section 99.012 of the Florida Statutes states: “No officer may qualify as a candidate for another public office, whether state, district, county or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other, without resigning from the office he or she presently holds.”

Georgia

Article II, Section 2, Paragraph V of the 1983 Constitution of Georgia reads: “The office of any state, county, or municipal elected official shall be declared vacant upon such elected official qualifying, in a general primary or general election, or special primary or special election, for another state, county, or municipal elective office or qualifying for the House of Representatives or the Senate of the United States if the term of the office for which such official is qualifying for begins more than 30 days prior to the expiration of such official’s present term of office.”

Hawaii

In 1978, Article II, Section 7 was added to the Constitution of Hawaii to include resign-to-run: “Any elected public officer shall resign from that office before being eligible as a candidate for another public office, if the term of the office sought begins before the end of the term of the office held.”

Texas

Article 16, Section 65(b) of the Constitution of Texas states: “If any of the officers named herein shall announce their candidacy, or shall in fact become a candidate, in any General, Special or Primary Election, for any office of profit or trust under the laws of this State or the United States other than the office then held, at any time when the unexpired term of the office then held shall exceed one year and 30 days, such announcement or such candidacy shall constitute an automatic resignation of the office then held, and the vacancy thereby created shall be filled pursuant to law in the same manner as other vacancies for such office are filled.”

The “officers named herein” are listed in Article 16, Section 65(a):

  • District Clerks
  • County Clerks
  • County Judges
  • Judges of the County Courts at Law
  • Judges of the County Criminal Courts
  • Judges of the County Probate Courts
  • Judges of the County Domestic Relations Courts
  • County Treasurers
  • Criminal District Attorneys
  • County Surveyors
  • County Commissioners
  • Justices of the Peace
  • Sheriffs
  • Assessors and Collectors of Taxes
  • District Attorneys
  • County Attorneys
  • Public Weighers
  • Constables

I would love to hear what our readers think about California implementing a law like this. What are your thoughts?

3 Responses to “States Where You Cannot Make A Safe Run”

  1. Allen Wilson said

    Good article, Chris.
    We should have such laws in California.
    Running for public office should not be breeze as it should be a challenge with the blessings of the voters?

  2. met00 said

    In the last election it would have been a problem for Edgar, and in this one Mansour (if he goes forward with the Supervisor run). Personally, I like it. The idea is that you have to place your eggs all in one basket. Either you will continue to hold the office you are elected to, or you will try to move up, but you can’t have a safe fallback position.

    The positive side would be that requiring this would open up opportunities for new blood. I think it would be a net positive.

    But if we are going to mess with election law, before I would do this I would require that any and all contributions made to any campaign be posted to a publicly available web site provided by the State with 48 hours after being collected. It’s far more important to follow the money.

  3. OC Insider #29 (aka Greg Diamond) said

    C’mon, Chris — you might have almost given Janet Nguyen a heart attack!

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