Former state Rep. Wes Marsh is attempting to get back into the Legislature after losing a bid for the Arizona Senate in 2002 amid controversy over his home address, military service on foreign soil, unpaid child support and violating the state Clean Elections Act.
Marsh filed 615 signatures and the necessary paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office Tuesday to run in the Sept. 7 Republican primary for one of two House seats from District 7.
Ray Barnes is the District 7 Republican incumbent and John Allen’s seat is up for grabs because he has been moved to District 11 after districts were redrawn in 2002. David Burnell Smith and Thom Von Hapsburg round out the GOP primary field for District 7.
Marsh, who lost a primary battle to Jim Waring in 2002, is a self-employed homeland security consultant, according to his filings with the state.
In 2002, Marsh said he worked as an information technology and security consultant, and his home address could not be determined. Marsh had three home addresses, two in District 8 and one in District 7, according to court and state records.
State law requires legislative candidates to live in the districts in which they are seeking election. The petitions he filed with the state show he lives at 7251 E. Eagle Feather Road, Scottsdale, which is in District 7.
The Marsh 2004 political committee and business addresses, however, have post office boxes listed in state filings.
"Anybody can have a post (office) box, but you know you can’t live in a post office box," said Smith, a Marsh rival in 2002.
Elections Director Joe Canefield said Marsh asked him to withhold his home address because of continuing conflict between Marsh and his estranged wife, Lori Ann Marsh, a former vice chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Caucus. The two began an acrimonious divorce proceeding in 1999, and Marsh recently supplied Canefield with a copy of a restraining order he has against her.
Canefield said he could not withhold the address because it is a public document.
District 7 Republicans list Marsh’s address as 7500 E. Deer Valley Road, Unit 118, Scottsdale, where his friend, Jamie L. Weiss, lived in 2002. The property now is listed under different owners.
Marsh did not return calls Wednesday, and Weiss could not be reached for comment.
Marsh’s credibility still suffers.
"The only thing I hope is that he’ll be more forthcoming in where he lives and more forthcoming in showing up to debates he’s supposed to show up to," Barnes said. "I’ve got no problems with anybody running."
The Clean Elections Commission fined Marsh $1,000 and withheld nearly $11,000 in matching campaign funds in 2002 because he missed a mandatory debate.
Some Republicans said they were puzzled about Marsh’s latest jump into the political arena because he has been out of step with the party since 2002. After he lost reelection, he also lost a threeway District 7 GOP chairman race conducted by secret ballot.
"I’m not supportive of him jumping in," said Nancy Barto, District 7 chairwoman. "He just hasn’t been in the loop and helpful to the party in the last two years."
During a check of the Marsh’s background in 2002, the Tribune found:
• Marsh touted himself on his campaign Web site, which still can be viewed at www.wesmarsh.com, as an Operation Desert Storm veteran even though he did not leave his National Guard base in Phoenix during the war in early 1991.
• He was ordered that year to make child support payments after failing to pay for nearly three years, court records showed.
"Nobody had talked about him. I haven’t seen him, I haven’t heard anything about him. It was as if he dropped off the face of the Earth," said Scottsdale Vice Mayor Bob Littlefield, who lived in District 7 in 2002.
"I was quite surprised to hear he was running again in light of what happened before. But, you’ve got to hand it to the guy — he never gives up."