Republican AZ Restaurant Association CEO Steve Chucri Announces Bid for Don Stapley’s Seat on Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

| September 30 2011

Steve Chucri, CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association, has announced his intentions to run for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Chucri will face Don Stapley, the embattled Republican who has held the seat since 1997. Chucri has led the Arizona Restaurant Association since 2002 and served in the past as the legislative director for ex-U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon.

Chucri, a conservative Republican, might be bringing his challenge at the right time. The Arizona Republic reports.

Stapley has served on the county’s five-member governing board since 1997, coasting to re-election every four years. But he may be vulnerable because of the fallout of the failed prosecutions, other legal battles and revelations that he used money donated by businesses and individuals to his National Association of Counties campaign fund to buy expensive personal items, such as a family trip to Hawaii.

More recently, Stapley has faced intense criticism by some over his decision to file a $15 million notice of claim, and then a lawsuit, against his own employer because of the failed prosecutions. Others have stood by him, saying he should be compensated for attorney fees and damages he claims are associated with the failed prosecutions.

When asked what he thought about Chucri’s intentions, Stapley responded “[i]t’s unfortunate when a Republican challenges another Republican – especially incumbents.” Stapley is obviously not pleased about having to deal with a challenger, particularly at this time.

Chucri did not immediately bring up Stapley’s troubles but instead in a news release focused on government reform and family values.

“Now is the appropriate time to replace finger-pointing with problem-solving in our county leadership,” he said in his prepared statement. “There is a thirst throughout our community to activate fresh perspectives and to replace the endless distractions with genuine and conservative servant-leadership. More government spending has failed to renew our community.”

But in an interview with the Phoenix New Times, Chucri knocked Stapley’s $15 million legal claim against the county.

“It’s hard to ask for someone’s vote, all the while suing them,” Chucri says. “I think there’s a fundamental disconnect.”

Chucri’s knock ended there and it looks like, for now at least, the competition is “mostly” amicable.

The Phoenix Business Journal did a profile on Chucri back in October of last year, summarizing his Arizona biography.

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