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Arizona state Rep. Jevin Hodge resigns

By Greg Hahne, Camryn Sanchez, Wayne Schutsky
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2024 - 10:14am
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - 10:52am

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Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News
Jevin Hodge in Phoenix on Nov. 8, 2022. Hodge was appointed to replace Rep. Athena Salman in the state House in January.

State Rep. Jevin Hodge has resigned from the Arizona Legislature, a day after The Arizona Republic reported he violated sexual misconduct policies as a university student almost a decade ago.

Documents obtained by The Arizona Republic back up allegations that George Washington University officials found Hodge, a Tempe Democrat, to have violated conduct standards at the Washington, D.C.-based school in 2015.

The woman who made the allegations against Hodge nine years ago contacted The Republic earlier this year following reports that Hodge was a candidate to fill a vacant seat in Legislative District 8. In proceedings with the university’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, the victim described the incident as a consensual encounter that turned into unwanted sexual contact.

The victim also told The Republic that attorneys for Hodge threatened to sue her for defamation if she refused to drop her complaint with the university and sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Hodge, who denied the allegations back then and again in a statement released Monday, was suspended from the university.

“I unequivocally deny the allegations made against me. In 2016, I requested that the police fully investigate these claims so the truth could come out. My request was denied by the university,” Hodge said Monday.

In a brief statement, House Minority Leader Lupe Contreras (D-Avondale) said Hodge offered his resignation Tuesday “in good faith and out of respect for the caucus.”

Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman
Kirsten Dorman/KJZZ
Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman.

Hodge was appointed in January to replace former Rep. Athena Salman (D-Tempe). Salman stepped down at the end of December to lead a pro-abortion organization’s efforts in Arizona.

Deborah Nardozzi and Jacob Raiford were nominated, along with Hodge, by Democrats in LD8 to replace Salman. But the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Hodge, a former congressional candidate, to the seat.

Rep. Melody Hernandez, a member of House Democratic leadership who represents the same Tempe district as Hodge, said she believed Hodge should have disclosed the allegations when he was nominated to fill the seat.

"Yes, sexual violence is never OK," Hernandez said.

Republican lawmakers criticized Democrats and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, claiming they did not properly vet Hodge before his appointment.

“The County Supervisors have been patting themselves on the back heartily for their self-imposed 'vetting' process when making appointments,” Rep. Jaqueline Parker (R-Mesa) posted on X. “Clearly, their process is crap.”

Hodge is the fifth Democrat in the Arizona House to resign this year. And another four House Democrats have announced they’re not running for reelection, ensuring that the makeup of the Democratic Caucus in the House will be vastly different in 2025.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify that Rep. Jevin Hodge was not the newest lawmaker appointed to the Arizona Legislature. Elda Luna-Nájera was appointed in late February to fill a different vacant House seat.

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Hear Arizona Republic reporter Mary Jo Pitzl talk about the resignation with The Show host Lauren Gilger