The drama surrounding a southern Arizona lawmaker continues at the state Capitol.
Daniel Patterson (I-Tucson) is standing his ground and fighting to keep his seat amid allegations of ethics violations.
Patterson held an hour long news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol.
“I’m not above resigning,” said Patterson. “I am not too proud to admit it. If I make a horrible mistake, I would resign, but that just hasn’t happened in this case.”
The state representative has been at the center of an ethics investigation that accused him of domestic violence, intimidation of fellow lawmakers and marijuana use.
Patterson stood in front of reporters Tuesday and said the allegations against him are politically motivated, while his supporters implied Patterson is the victim of reverse discrimination.
“If Representative Patterson was black, like me, he’d get an ethics hearing,” said the Rev. Jared Maupin. “If he was a woman he’d get an ethics hearing. If he was in a wheelchair he’d have an ethics hearing.”
Two of Patterson’s colleagues wrote a letter to the House Speaker, implying that the media has played a role in Patterson’s problems by rushing to judgement. They compared his case with that of Trayvon Martin, the teenager killed in a Florida neighborhood that has sparked nationwide outrage.
“Lets not make this into some rhetorical battle down here and make this something it isn’t,” said State Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix. “This is about unethical conduct and possible criminal conduct in the Arizona House and we need to take action and fix the problem and expel this lawmaker.”
Patterson did not go into detail about the allegations, but said that a recent independent investigation into his actions was flawed with numerous unsubstantiated claims.
Patterson is asking for an ethics hearing to plead his case before lawmakers vote on whether he should stay in office.
“This issue goes far beyond me as an individual legislator,” said Patterson.
The Arizona House Ethics Committee meets again Wednesday to consider the expulsion of Patterson from the Legislature.
The committee met briefly Tuesday to consider Patterson’s case but recessed until Wednesday so members can review a response that Patterson submitted right before the deadline.