Claiming they’re being ignored by John McCain and Jeff Flake, Republican state legislators took the first steps Tuesday to allowing them — and not the voters — to choose who gets to run for the U.S. Senate. On a 6-3 party-line vote, members of the House Committee on Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy approved a a measure which would give lawmakers the power to nominate Senate candidates. Legislators from each political party would choose two nominees for each open seat, with the four names going on the general election ballot. HCR 2022 now goes to the full House. If it gets approved there and by the Senate, the change would have to be ratified by voters in November. In essence, the proposal would partly return Arizona to the way things were prior to 1913 when U.S. senators were chosen outright by the legislatures of each state, with no popular vote at all.
The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution overruled that, providing for direct election of senators in the same way voters get to choose members of the House of Representatives. But Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, said nothing in that amendment requires a popular vote to determine who gets to be on that general election ballot.
Grantham argued that his measure would bring Arizona back closer to the original intent of the Founding Fathers who wanted the Senate to be not only a check on the popularly elected House but also to be responsive to the states and their lawmakers.