Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit meant to stop his re-election bid.
Last month, Tom Rawles, Kavanaugh’s opponent in the race for City Council District 3 in southwest Mesa, filed the complaint in Maricopa County Superior Court. In the complaint, Rawles’ lawyer, Douglas Drury, argued that the city charter and a 2001 state attorney general’s opinion prohibit Kavanaugh from seeking a third consecutive four-year council term. The election is March 9.
Judge Paul A. Katz is handling the case.
This week, Kavanaugh’s lawyer, Lisa Hauser, responded with paperwork outlining reasons why the suit should be dismissed. Hauser’s motion states the City Council has jurisdiction over the issue, not the court; that Rawles waited too long to file the complaint; that the city charter’s ban on more than two consecutive terms doesn’t apply in this case; and that the complaint is invalid because Rawles didn’t personally verify it with his signature.
Kavanaugh has maintained that he is eligible to run because his first term from 1996 to 2000 doesn’t count when it comes to the city charter’s ban on more than two consecutive terms.
That’s because the city switched to a district council system from an at-large system in phases in the 2000 and 2002 council elections, Kavanaugh said.
In 2000, Kavanaugh was elected for four years in the newly created District 3. Kavanaugh is finishing his first term in the new district and is eligible for another, he said.
Rawles, a lawyer and a former Maricopa County supervisor, ran as a Libertarian candidate for governor in 1998. In a phone interview Tuesday, Rawles said the courts will resolve the issue, not the media.
"I think he’s wrong on all counts," Rawles said.