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Patterson 'suspending' campaign in wake of ethics charges

Blasts former Democratic colleagues as 'slimy'

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State Rep. Daniel Patterson, under fire from both parties after an ethics investigation, said Tuesday he's suspending his re-election campaign and "likely will not run" to keep his House seat.

"I'm suspending my reelection campaign & likely will not run for AZ House in 2012. I want focus on family, break from politics. #Tucson (sic)," he tweeted.

In an interview, Patterson blasted his former Democratic colleagues as "slimy" (Patterson registered as an independent Monday) and said "I'm not going to fade away."

Although it's "extremely unlikely" that he'll seek to retain a House seat, Patterson isn't considering resigning, he said.

"I'm going to fight to clear my name," he said.

Republican legislators blocked the immediate expulsion of the former Democrat on Tuesday, opting to pursue ethics hearings. Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders released a series of exhibits in the case filed against the Tucson representative.

Also Tuesday, an order of protection filed by Patterson's ex-wife, Jeanine Schaffer, was dismissed by a Tucson judge. Patterson and Schaffer have feuded over custody arrangements involving their young daughter.

In the Legislature, GOP leaders blocked attempts by House Democrats to immediately expel Patterson based on the findings of an independent counsel hired by the Ethics Committee. Those findings, released Monday, claim Patterson verbally abuses his staff and colleagues, has threatened physical assault, likely tampered with a witness, and sought to trade sexual favors for votes.

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House Democrats released the supporting documents in the case on Tuesday (see sidebar links).

Patterson said the report was "prepared by political lawyers out to reach a predetermined outcome," and said it was "outrageous" that Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley called for his expulsion.

"The deep distrust, concern for, and fear of Rep. Patterson is bipartisan, bicameral (and)... broad," the report said.

"We reluctantly recommend that, in light of his extraordinary and very predictable pattern of disorderly, indecorous, and deceptive behavior, coupled with the ineffectiveness of earlier counseling, reprimand, and discipline, Rep. Patterson should be expelled from the House," investigators wrote in the 33-page report.

Patterson said that there was no foundation for the report's allegations.

He faulted the report for relying on "anonymous accusations," and said most of the incidents cited "had noting to do with the ethics complaint" that sparked the investigation.

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell called Monday afternoon for Patterson to step down.

"The behavior highlighted in the investigative report is both reprehensible and intolerable. If he does not resign now, we need to vote to remove him immediately," Campbell said in a news release.

"I'm not going to knuckle under to slimy politicians like Steve Farley and Chad Campbell," Patterson said in a Tuesday interview.

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