PHOENIX -- Former Tucson Representative Daniel Patterson, who is facing domestic violence charges as well as complaints that he bullied fellow lawmakers, has called it quits before lawmakers could vote him out of office.
“This has been a major distraction for the past month and a half,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell.
But that distraction is now officially over.
“Rep. Patterson came into my office before the floor and he already had the letter drafted so he signed it in front of me and made it effective immediately in front of me,” said Speaker of the House Andy Tobin.
The Speaker accepted Patterson's resignation; the decision was made just hours after the House Ethics Committee voted to recommend expulsion. That after Patterson spent more than hour trying to defend himself.
“Nothing I have done has violated the trust of constituents or my ability to represent them here in the house,” said Patterson. “There is no recall effort no clamoring of constituents to throw me out in fact all constituents’ comments has been in support of me.”
Patterson, who is accused of routinely ignoring House rules while threatening and intimidating colleagues at the Capitol, denied all allegations and asked for a full ethics hearing on the matter.
“I should have the opportunity to question and cross examine accusers,” said Patterson. “I deserve due process.”
When that was denied, Patterson took to twitter saying the "fix was in."
He submitted his resignation letter a few hours later saying quote, "I have been forced to resign due to the fact that the House has become a very hostile work environment for me. Due to this I am no longer able to serve my constituents in the way they deserve."
“There seems to be a fundamental disjoint between how he perceives himself and how members perceive his effect on them,” said Rep. Ted Vogt, Chairman of the House Ethics Committee.
“I'm glad Mr. Patterson resigned, now he can take care of his matters on his time and we can take of the maters we're elected to do,” said Minority Leader Chad Campbell.
Patterson still has some legal issues to deal with outside of the Capitol. He's been charged with four misdemeanors over incidents involving his ex-girlfriend and alleged domestic violence.
He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Meantime, Legislative District 29 in Tucson is vacant. The Pima County Board of Supervisors has three days to appoint a citizens panel that will be charged with submitting the names of three qualified electors who have an independent political affiliation (or not affiliated with one of the 5 political parties recognized by the state) and are residents of the district. They have seven days to come up with those recommendations. The Board then has five business days to vote and appoint one person from the list to fill the vacancy.
Patterson changed his political affiliation from Democrat to independent this month.