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Rep. Marcelino Quiñonez resigns, 6th Democrat to leave Arizona Legislature in 2024

Man in suit speaking
Marcelino Quiñonez on March 1, 2022.

Rep. Marcelino Quiñonez resigned from the Arizona House on Thursday, becoming the sixth Democrat to leave the state Legislature since the beginning of the year.

After newly appointed Rep. Deborah Nardozzi was sworn in this morning to fill a separate vacancy, Democrats had a full caucus in the Arizona House of Representatives for less than six hours before Quiñonez announced from the House floor he was stepping down.

“I take so many lessons with me,” Quiñonez said. “Amongst them, the reality that we cannot let perfection be the enemy of progress.” 

Quiñonez, who represents Legislative District 11 in the West Valley, was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Arizona House in 2021. He was then elected to the position in 2022. 

He declined to say why he stepped down.

“I think I'm in a place where I'm really pleased with all of the work that we've been able to accomplish and I'm also looking at the opportunities and possibilities of next week,” Quiñonez said.

The Arizona Agenda previously reported he could be in the running to fill a vacancy on the Phoenix City Council, and The Arizona Republic reported the council plans to fill that seat next week.

An Arizona constitutional provision barring members of the Legislature from holding other offices during the term they were elected to serve could affect Quiñonez's eligibility to fill the council vacancy.

“No member of the Legislature, during the term for which he shall have been elected or appointed shall be eligible to hold any other office or be otherwise employed by the state of Arizona or, any county or incorporated city or town thereof. This prohibition shall not extend to the office of school trustee, nor to employment as a teacher or instructor in the public school system,” according to the state Constitution.

Democrats in LD11 must now select nominees to replace Quiñonez. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will then pick the replacement from that list.

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Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.