The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors picked Gilbert City Councilman Eddie Cook to fill the remaining term of office for resigned County Assessor Paul Petersen. Cook’s name was one of five that made the final cut and he and Assessor candidate Rodney Glassman were considered the two front-runners. Cook had also declared his interest in running for Mayor in Gilbert before applying for the appointment.
The pick ensures the GOP will have a contested primary for Assessor at a time when Democrats are emboldened by the scandals plaguing the office and by their 2016 gains when they picked up the Sheriff’s office and the Recorder’s office, each of which was also battered by years of bad press.
Observers were largely not surprised by the pick, citing Glassman’s work raising money for Kelli Ward and the State GOP and support from conservatives like County Treasurer Royce Flora and his Chief Deputy and former Senate President Russell Pearce. “There is no way they are going to pick anyone that is in any way the Tea Party guy when they can pick an establishment guy like Cook. Support from Flora and Pearce may help you at the district meetings or on election day, but there is no way a Clint Hickman / Steve Chucri / Steve Gallardo board is going to approve you.”
A long-time county observer thought the pick was actually a surprise given that Glassman had withdrawn from the County Attorney’s race at the request of party elders who wanted to avoid an expensive primary going into 2020. “He did the party thing and gave the primary to [Alistair] Adel when he could have outspent her by a considerable margin, he gets into the Assessor’s race because he’s asked to by the County Treasurer, and then the County Supervisors screw him over and vote him an expensive primary as a thank you? Rodney just learned a valuable lesson about Maricopa County politics.” Glassman has reported raising approximately $250,000 and claimed to have all of his signatures already gathered.
Cook has served on the Town of Gilbert Council since 2011, both as a councilmember and as Vice-Mayor. He also serves as the President of Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, Chairman of the Maricopa Association of Government Domestic Violence Council, and as a Board Director of the MAG Economic Development Committee. He was appointed by Governor Ducey to serve on the State of Arizona Information Technology Authorization Committee Board. According to his city bio page, he “championed a diverse team to create a policy/resolution on “Civility” for the Town of Gilbert” and he now “travels around the State of Arizona encouraging the 90+ municipalities to consider adopting a similar policy for their communities.”
Cook will need to resign his City Council seat which will trigger another appointment process and will begin his work at the Assessor’s office as soon as he is sworn in.