ACC write-in candidate tries a second time for Corporation Commission seat

Posted at 7:31 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 12:09:03-04

PHOENIX — Retired businessman James "Jim" O'Connor says he views seats on the Corporation Commission as "a business job that our voters in Arizona are hiring for."

It's a job that O'Connor is up for after running as a write-in candidate.

"I was essentially drafted after our state Supreme Court removed two of the four remaining Republicans from the ballot," he said.

In June, he says fellow Republican and current commissioner Justin Olson, asked him to run for the spot in the August primary as a write-in candidate.

"I needed 6,663 write-in votes, which many thought was impossible. And by the grace of God, I got 45,544 write-in votes," he said.

Regardless of how he got on the ballot, O'Connor says his philosophy is already in place given that he ran for the seat and lost in 2018.

"The job of the commissioners, all of them, regardless of party is to make sure that we have well-financed, well-funded public utility companies who are capable of delivering and assuring to all ratepayers, the delivery of safe power and water, reliable power and water. And above all, affordable power and water," he said.

The former securities firm owner is a clean elections candidate, which means he gets $174,024 in public financing and can't take money from anyone, including utilities.

"They (utilities) ought not be supporting the campaigns of any commissioners who are ultimately going to be making determinations about whether or not they get rate increases, then on the face of it is not that that's not good," he said.

When it comes to his experience, O'Connor says knowing the securities industry will be an asset in weeding out bad actors.

"They ruin the industry for all of the very fine, reputable people that operate in there. And I think the commission needs to be more vigorous in its approach to bad actors in the securities," he said.