Career politician Allen vs. newbie Toporek

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Opinion: It’s really not a partisan office, yet voters will have to decide between John Allen, a longtime Republican lawmaker, and Democrat Dan Toporek, a political newcomer.

The Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office (Photo: David KadlubowskI/The Republic)

There are certain public offices for which political affiliation shouldn’t matter. The Maricopa County treasurer is one of them.

The chief duty of the county treasurer is to send tax bills and collect payments.

What powers that the office has derive from that primary charge: Disbursing money to government entities (on whose behalf it collects the taxes), investing the surplus cash and taking actions against those property owners who don’t pay their bills.

Unlike other offices — sheriff, for instance, or county attorney — a treasurer’s political persuasion doesn’t do much to inform policy or affect services to constituents.

Race comes down to Democrat vs. Republican

Nonetheless, come Nov. 3, voters will decide between John Allen, a Republican, and Daniel Toporek, a Democrat.

And it being a down-ballot race, party affiliation likely will be a primary driver of voters’ choice.

The winner serves a four-year term and replaces incumbent Royce Flora, whom both Allen and Toporek criticized for playing politics for self-promotion.

Flora famously seized headlines last year by intervening, purportedly spending his own money, to help a disabled veteran recover his mobile home that had been auctioned off over unpaid taxes.

Flora pitched himself as an advocate for the distressed homeowner, repeatedly pushing state legislation to reduce the tax liabilities of low-income seniors by moving them to a different classification. Last year, he lend his support to a ballot initiative that would have eliminated property taxes outright for any Arizonan 65 and older; it didn’t gain much traction.

John Allen a conservative, longtime lawmaker

Allen and Toporek say they entered the race