Don Shooter thought allegations of sexual harassment against him might work in his favor, even if they led to his ouster from Arizona’s state Legislature. So he ran for state Senate in an effort to “MAKE A LIBERALS [sic] HEAD EXPLODE," as one of his campaign billboards explained.
Well, his efforts just failed.
Shooter was voted out of office 56-3 in February after numerous women accused him of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. He was considered the first lawmaker to be pushed out of office as a result of the #MeToo movement. But in May, he filed paperwork to run for state Senate — and tried to use his expulsion from the state Legislature to his advantage, saying he had merely annoyed people.
In Tuesday night's Republican primary, Shooter placed third among three people gunning for a state Senate seat in Arizona’s Legislative District 13, according to the Arizona Republic. Sine Kerr, the female dairy farmer and incumbent, easily bested him with 49 percent of the vote.
While in office, Shooter told the publisher of the Arizona Republic that he had done everything on his bucket list but “those Asian twins in Mexico,” according to scathing 82-page report, issued by an local law firm. The report also accused him of asking a fellow lawmaker whether her breasts were “real or fake.” He also allegedly grabbed his genitals while they were eye-level with a lobbyist sitting in his office.
In light of the allegations, state lawmakers had pleaded with Shooter to resign. But he refused — and thus, became the first lawmaker to be voted out of the Arizona legislature since 1991, according to the Arizona Republic.
"I never sexually harassed anyone. I was guilty of annoying some people. Anybody who knows [me] would tell you that's certainly a possibility," Shooter told a local Yuma television station, KYMA, in July.
Shooter’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
During the same interview, Shooter also referenced a poll question that asked: ‘If you knew a legislator was thrown out of office for sexual harassment, would you be more likely to vote for him, or less likely?’ Which one do you think won?”
“More likely! More likely. I’m just telling you," he said.
That poll was apparently conducted by his campaign, according to the Phoenix New Times, and its methodology wasn’t clear.
Kerr, who filled a vacant Senate seat in January, will now face off against Democratic nominee Michelle Harris, an Air Force veteran, in a district that leans Republican. She’s running on a moderately conservative platform in favor of supporting the agriculture industry and fiscal responsibility.
Kerr previously said in an interview with KYMA that she was surprised Shooter ran. “I feel like it’s going to really hamper his ability to be effective as a legislator,” she said.
And her opponent feels similarly.
“I really don’t believe that people as a whole want to be represented by someone that got expelled by their peers from the state legislature,” Harris told VICE News in an interview ahead of the primaries. “I really think people want their elected officials to focus on problems and not have this cloud of infamy hanging over them.”
Carter Sherman contributed to this report.
Cover image: Don Shooter testifies during a hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on June 14, 2018. (Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool, File)