KINGMAN – State representative candidate Jennifer Jones-Esposito officially filed for Legislative District 5, turning in 660 signatures Monday to the Secretary of State in Phoenix, or 131 more than required.
Jones-Esposito, who ran for office in 2016, has been collecting signatures at Republican club meetings, community events, Golden Valley swap meets and when she was out and about.
“Everywhere I went, literally sometimes even at the gas pump, everywhere I went I asked people to sign my petition,” Jones-Esposito said Wednesday in an interview with the Daily Miner.
“It’s official. I think I’m the first to turn in my signatures.”
Jones-Esposito was challenged by Rep. Paul Mosley for her signatures in 2016, when she lived in La Paz County, and was forced to go to court in Maricopa County.
It was a waste of government time and money, she said, as attorneys were sent from Mohave County and the Secretary of State.
Petitions signatures are counted and scanned by the Secretary of State, but are not verified unless someone challenges them in court.
“I don’t expect another challenge because I did collect the signatures myself,” Jones-Esposito said. “The standard protocol is to collect 20 percent more than required. It’s statistically improbable that 20 percent could be thrown out. If you don’t collect that 20 percent, you could end up in court and lose.”
The District 5 candidate said she was encouraged to run again by a lot of “well-connected” people in local government and Republican Party leaders who expressed dissatisfaction with Mosley.
“If you try and fail, at least you tried,” she said.
Jones-Esposito ran a grassroots campaign in 2016, spending less than $500 and picking up more than 7,800 votes, the most votes per dollar of any candidate, she noted. She was still living in La Paz County, where nobody had ever been elected to the state legislature.
“I knew it was an uphill battle, but I wanted to see how well I could do on a grassroots budget,” she said.
Remarried with grandchildren now, Jones-Esposito said she wants to make sure Arizona is as great a state to live for them as it is now.
It’s critical that Mohave County protect its water rights, and equally important to protect the right to bear arms and property rights, she said.
She’s in favor of lower taxes, individual liberty and smaller government.
“Arizona should be protected from federal overreach. Let someone else drain the swamp. I want to clean the sandbox,” said Jones-Esposito, who is endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona.
The Republican Liberty Caucus is a voluntary grassroots organization with 527 members dedicated to working within the Republican Party to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government and free markets.