Two days before the election, a Republican candidate arrested on a misdemeanor sex charge a month ago hasn’t withdrawn from the race – and he could win.
Randy Kaufman, a pro-Trump Republican, was arrested on a charge of public sexual indecency in early October.
Kaufman is running for the Maricopa County Community College Governing Board against State Rep. Kelli Butler, a Democrat. The non-partisan board oversees spending and policy for a community college district with 200,000 students.
Kaufman was arrested in a community college parking lot on Oct. 4 while committing a lewd act in his truck, according to the arrest report by a community college police officer.
Kaufman told the officer: “I f—ed up. I’m really stressed.” Kaufman also told the officer that he knew the police union president and was a candidate for office.
The arrest was made public two weeks later when journalists learned about it.
Early voting had already started, and Kaufman’s name was on the ballot.
His name was also listed on “Golden Ticket” cards handed out to voters and posted on social media by the Arizona Republican Party to promote straight-ticket voting.
Kaufman said he was suspending his campaign at the time, but he hasn’t formally withdrawn from the race. That means votes for Kaufman will count.
Meantime, Maricopa Community College police submitted Kaufman’s case for review to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on Oct. 20, according to County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.
He was cited for a misdemeanor of public indecency, but it could rise to a felony charge because the alleged lewd act occurred near a child care center.
There’s no time frame for a charging decision.
If Kaufman were to win and then resign, his replacement would be selected by Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson, a Republican.
According to Watson spokesman Tim Sifert, Watson could appoint a Republican or a Democrat since the board is nonpartisan. Any county resident could apply for an opening, Sifert said.
Appointing replacements for school board members is part of the county superintendent’s job, Sifert said. Watson has made more than 60 appointments during his six years in office.