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Not even waiting until President Obama gave his speech Thursday night, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed suit in federal court seeking to block the announced plans to allow millions of people not in this country to remain and work here legally.
Democrat Felecia Rotellini officially conceded to Republican Mark Brnovich in the race to become Arizona’s next attorney general.
Tens of thousands of outstanding ballots have left the results of several statewide races up in the air.
PHOENIX -- Tens of thousands of outstanding ballots have left the results of several statewide races up in the air.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona voters have given Republicans another four years to lead the state, rejecting Democratic efforts to win statewide offices for the first time this decade.
Republican state treasurer Doug Ducey won the governor's office by a wide margin, beating Fred DuVal after a campaign that saw the Democrat fail to gain traction as he was hammered by nearly $8 million in negative ads paid for by outside groups.
Ducey takes over from retiring Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in January, but he will be faced with an immediate budget crisis as the state expects a budget deficit exceeding $1 billion.
Republican state Sen. Michele Reagan was elected secretary of state, making her the state's top elections official and the first in line to become governor if Ducey is unable to continue in the job. Mark Brnovich won the attorney general's race, Republican Jeff DeWit becomes the new state treasurer after an uncontested race, and two Republicans beat their Democratic opponents for the regulatory body known as the Corporation Commission to the secure the near GOP sweep of top statewide offices.
The lone statewide office that remained too close to call Wednesday — superintendent of public instruction — was being led by Republican Diane Douglas over Democrat David Garcia.
That left Democrats who had looked at the midterm elections as a way to grab a statewide constitutional office considering how they came up short.
Democratic Party spokesman Frank Camacho said the party's grassroots organizing efforts mainly fell short and its candidates lacked the fire to inspire young people. The exceptions were Ruben Gallego, who won the 7th Congressional District seat of retiring Rep. Ed Pastor, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema's win in the 9th District.
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick won her sprawling rural 1st District as well. Democratic Rep. Ron Barber was locked in a tight race with retired Air Force pilot Martha McSally in southern Arizona's 2nd District.
But statewide elected offices were nearly out of reach for Democrats, who last held one before the 2010 general election.
"You see how they can inspire young folks," Camacho said. "We just have to go out there, identify them and get them ready for state, local or national office. We have to give voters a reason to vote for Democrats."
Ducey's easy win came as Republicans gained across the nation, taking control of the U.S. Senate and solidifying their control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ducey, the 50-year-old former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, portrayed himself as the inevitable winner in the final weeks of the campaign, buoyed by heavy spending on his behalf by outside groups and strong Republican turnout in early voting. He emerged from a bruising six-way primary in August in the race to replace Gov. Jan Brewer and went on to outspend DuVal in the general election by a hefty margin.
He'll take office in January and face a fiscal crisis caused by lower-than-expected tax revenue and a court order that could put Arizona on the hook for up to $2.5 billion in new education spending. The state faces a projected deficit of $1.5 billion in the current and next budget years amid promises from both candidates to cut taxes.
"I'm grateful for the privilege you have given me, for the trust you have placed in me, and I pledge my best efforts as the governor of this great state," Ducey said in a victory speech. "Whether you voted for me or you voted for someone else, I intend to be governor for all and work to create opportunities for every single Arizonan."
Ducey thanked his campaign staff, his wife, Angela, his three sons, and his opponent, Fred DuVal, calling him "a good man."
DuVal, in a concession speech at the Democrats' election-night headquarters in Phoenix, also thanked his supporters, and he said he had called Ducey to offer his congratulations.
"A registration disadvantage and clearly a bad national environment were hard enough to overcome. But we were also reminded that unlimited money is a powerful thing in politics — and is not a healthy thing," DuVal said.
He took a swipe at the massive amounts of outside spending used to attack him in the race from outside groups. Ducey and Duval each spent about $2.2 million in their general election campaigns, but Ducey has benefited from $7.9 million in outside spending compared with about $1 million for DuVal.
"I would like to call and congratulate the other big winners tonight, but frankly the other big winners are undisclosed, unknown and out of state," DuVal said.
PHOENIX (AP) — State Sen. Michele Reagan has defeated a longtime member of the Arizona Democratic political establishment to become the next secretary of state.
PHOENIX (AP) — After months of campaigning, candidates for Arizona's top elected offices will find out Tuesday if they persuaded enough voters to back them to win.
Democrats who hope to gain statewide offices for the first time in four years worked the days leading up to Election Day trying to get out the vote and overcome a Republican advantage in early ballot returns.
The slate of candidates vying for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and other constitutional offices will need a major turnout of Democrats Tuesday to win in a year shaping up as decidedly Republican nationally.
Meanwhile, the Republican candidates finished a four-day statewide tour Monday with stops in three northern Arizona communities, ending at the county courthouse in the onetime territorial capital of Prescott late in the evening.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 a.m., and the candidates and public should see the first results at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The deadline for returning early ballots by mail passed last week, so those ballots must be delivered to a polling place or county recorder's office by close of business to be counted.
Those who forget their polling places can find the correct location by using the secretary of state's website search tool at http://www.azsos.gov .
Republican Doug Ducey is casting himself as the front-runner in the governor's race, while Democrat Fred DuVal is hoping a high Democratic turnout will overcome the Republicans' early ballot advantage.
But DuVal wasn't saying he is behind, instead pointing to continued spending by outside groups backing Ducey, like the Republican Governors Association as proof the race is closer than many believe.
"This is a total tossup, and turnout will matter, and it will be close," DuVal said. "The fact that the RGA continued to increase its expenditure in the last 10 days of the campaign confirms what we know to be the case, which is this is going to be a close election."
Ducey and Duval have each spent about $2.2 million in their general election campaign, but Ducey has benefited from $7.9 million in outside spending compared to about $1 million for DuVal.
Ducey, in an interview Monday, said he's anxious to see the vote totals on election night but believes he has a path to victory.
"We want to see the returns, we want to see the totals," Ducey said. "That's why we're hopscotching all over the state today."
Other top statewide races on Tuesday's ballot include the battle between Democrat Felecia Rotellini and Republican Mark Brnovich for attorney general, Democrat Terry Goddard and Republican Michele Reagan for secretary of state, and Democrat David Garcia against Republican Diane Douglas for superintendent of public instruction. All nine congressional seats are also on the ballot, with close races expected in the 1st and 2nd Districts and possibly the 9th.
"I'm very excited about this election because the Democrats have taken this country off to the left somewhere I don't even know about. So we have to get rid of them and get this country back on track," said Phoenix resident Ted Cook, who voted about an hour after polls opened.
Ducey and Duval said Monday they were hoping voters hear their messages. Ducey went back to his business experience to make his final pitch.
"Put a business man and a job creator in the governor's office," Ducey said. "Put somebody who has built the broadest coalition in the race, someone who wants to bring people together and focus on the things the governor can do, like growing our economy and creating jobs that turn into fulfilling careers, and somebody who will return K-12 education to the greatness we expect here in this country, and will do it in a financially responsible way."
DuVal cast the race differently.
"Is Arizona poised for a change or going to double down on the existing policies that are not producing either a strong economy or good education outcomes?" DuVal asked. "Arizona's really got to decide whether we're going to keep doing what we're doing or whether we're going to move into the 21st century."
PHOENIX (AP) — After months of campaigning, candidates for Arizona's top elected offices will find out Tuesday if they persuaded enough voters to back them to win.
Arizona is deciding a full slate of statewide, congressional and local races, many of which were highly competitive heading in to the final hours of the campaign. The closeness of the contests has been reflected in the bombardment of attack ads over the final weeks as Democratic, Republican and special interest groups have spent large amounts of money in Arizona. Here is a look at the ticket, and what's at stake:
Outside groups that want Doug Ducey as Arizona's next governor have spent enough to give every man, woman and child in the state a dollar — and still have $1 million left over. That doesn't count the $2.2 million that Ducey himself has spent in the general election, on top of the $5 million he expended just getting to be the Republican nominee in the first place.
PHOENIX -- Outside groups that want Doug Ducey as Arizona's next governor have spent enough to give every man, woman and child in the state a dollar -- and still have $1 million left over.
PHOENIX -- Close to one out of every seven votes cast this year will come from Hispanics, according to a non-partisan organization promoting Latino turnout.
Close to one out of every seven votes cast this year will come from Hispanics, according to a non-partisan organization promoting Latino turnout. And group members predict that large percentage of them will vote for Democrats — but not necessarily because of what those candidates offer, but how Republicans are campaigning.
PHOENIX (AP) — A coalition of Arizona advocacy groups defended its practice Wednesday of dropping off early ballots for voters.
The grassroots organizations are facing an outcry in the wake of surveillance video posted last week that shows a volunteer hand-delivering numerous ballots to a Maricopa County elections office a day before the Aug. 26 primary.
"It's a nonstory. Nothing that they did was illegal," said Tony Navarrete, a spokesman for immigration advocacy group Promise Arizona. "It was them making the promise to voters that they were going to turn in their ballots during the primary."
The video has been viewed more than 360,000 times on YouTube.
A.J. LaFaro, the Republican Party's chairman for Maricopa County, said he witnessed the man, who is a canvasser for Citizens for a Better Arizona, dropping off a box full of ballots.
Lafaro said "ballot harvesting" raises issues about the security of those ballots before they're counted, even though signatures on ballot envelopes are checked by election workers.
"From the time those ballots are mailed to the time they're turned back in, lots of things can happen," LaFaro said.
Ramiro Luna, Citizens for a Better Arizona field director, criticized LaFaro and others for referring to canvassers as "thugs." According to Luna, canvassers knock on doors —mostly in Hispanic communities — and encourage voters to participate. But they are trained not to touch a ballot or mark it in any way, he said.
"The ballot is something we keep as sacred. It is between the voter and the election department. All we are doing is providing a service to make sure the ballot is counted and is turned in on time," Luna said.
LaFaro acknowledged the Republican Party has been doing the same thing when it sends get-out-the-vote volunteers to canvass neighborhoods.
"On occasion we offer to take their ballot and deliver it for them," LaFaro said. "If it's not illegal, we're going to make that offer."
But he argued it was on a much smaller scale compared to Democratic-leaning groups.
"We don't comprehend, nor do we subscribe to what we see out there on the progressive-socialist side," LaFaro said. "That gentleman bringing in several hundred ballots, what function does that serve? We still cannot comprehend why they do it."
Maricopa County Elections spokesman Daniel Ruiz said there is no law covering how a ballot gets to the poll. What counts is whether the ballot is signed and the signature can be verified. However, voters who don't plan on mailing a ballot or dropping it off in person should make sure to give it to someone they trust, Ruiz added.
LaFaro said he will urge the Legislature to change the law when it returns in January to make the process illegal.
The collection of ballots by groups like Citizens for a Better Arizona has become an issue in the Arizona secretary of state's race. The practice would have been banned under a major 2013 election law rewrite that the Legislature repealed this year after opponents collected enough signatures to send it to the ballot.
"I see no reason why any individual, whether it's a candidate themselves, a campaign operative, a party individual, myself, you, anybody, should be in possession of an extraordinary number of ballots," Republican candidate Michele Reagan said at an Oct. 7 debate. "It creates a system where there is an opportunity for fraud, and that is not acceptable."
Democrat Terry Goddard agreed that banning mass collections should be considered, within limits.
"I agree that what Sen. Reagan occasionally calls harvesting is wrong and whatever that means should be abolished," Goddard said, while warning that not all collections should be banned. "Let's look carefully before we jump, because the thing at stake is your right and my right to vote, and it seems to me that under every circumstance we ought to protect that right."
Airline delays and cancellations are up slightly from last year's peak travel season.
“Sometimes the airplanes in Chandler are so loud and low, I feel like I am in a war zone.”
The debate Tuesday night for who should be the state's chief election officer turned into a televised spat over religious discrimination.
Michele Reagan and Terry Goddard face off in a debate Tuesday for secretary of state with host Ted Simons of KAET-TV. [Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services]
PHOENIX -- The debate Tuesday night for who should be the state's chief election officer turned into a televised spat over religious discrimination.
Republican Michele Reagan found herself on the defensive for voting earlier this year for SB 1062. The measure would have allowed owners of businesses to cite their sincerely held religious beliefs as justification for refusing to provide service to some. It was eventually vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer as unnecessary -- and after some lawmakers of both parties who had voted for it had second thoughts. That includes Reagan.
"Bad vote,'' she conceded during a debate Tuesday night at KAET-TV. Reagan said in her 12 years in the Legislature, she probably cast 10,000 votes.
"So I would say it's probably a little inappropriate, and I would say a little unfair to go through and to cherry pick,'' she said.
That vote is irrelevant to the job she now wants, she contended. She said SB 1062 would have impaired the right of people to vote, a key duty of the office she wants.
But Democrat Terry Goddard said her vote should matter to those who want the secretary of state to run elections in the most open manner.
"I think we know from experience in the Deep South in the civil-rights era that access to a lunch counter and access to an equal seat on the bus and voting rights are all tied up in the same package,'' he said. "So, you can't say somebody doesn't get a full set of equal rights in one area and then say it's OK for voting.''
Goddard rejected questions from host Ted Simons that legislation about religious freedom is unrelated to voting rights.
"If the secretary of state is not making it clear to all the citizens of Arizona that they're going to be absolutely fair in the execution of the voting laws, that every vote is counted and every individual is equal, the message that goes out is going to have what we have today, which is a rapidly decelerating number of people participating,'' Goddard said.
Reagan shot back that the only message voters are getting from debating now her vote on SB 1062 is that Goddard wants to make the election "hyper partisan.''
"The message is, let's take one vote, two votes, three votes -- you can go through the 10,000 votes and find a couple -- and lets blow them up and try to make people angry,'' saying those moves were designed solely to "upset people.''
"That's the kind of stuff that turns people off from politics, from public policy, from government, the exact opposite of what a secretary of state or secretary of state candidate should be doing,'' Reagan said.
Goddard's retort to the charge of being hyper-partisan was that, in the end, the opposition to SB 1062 was bipartisan.
On the subject of boosting voter turnout, Reagan said she plans outreach ranging from an advocate to educating voters around the state, to setting up kiosks in high schools to make it easier for students turning 18 to register to vote.
Goddard focused on removing what he said are impediments thrown in the path of those not registered with any recognized party.
He said independent candidates have to get 33,000 signatures to run for statewide office; a Republican or Democrat needs around 7,000. And independent voters, who now outnumber Republicans and Democrats, must make a request before every primary election for an early ballot; party registrants who have signed up for these need do nothing more.
Each also claimed to be qualified to be governor if it comes to that, as the secretary of state is first in line if the chief executive quits, dies or is impeached and convicted.
Reagan cited her experience as a legislator and working at a family business. Goddard countered with his election as Phoenix mayor in the 1980s and as state attorney general from 2002 to 2010.
Follow Howard Fischer on Twitter at @azcapmedia.
Most Americans know three strikes means you’re out. However, there is one nudnik in Arizona who apparently isn’t much of a baseball fan: Terry Goddard.
Conservative lobbyists want Arizona to join the growing list of states applying for the nation’s second constitutional convention.
Doug Ducey apparently walked away with the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday, beating out five other contenders.
Candidates for governor and their allies have so far spent close to $16 million in the race to come out on top this coming Tuesday in the Republican primary. And that's what we know about.
Waiting until after some ballots already have been cast, Gov. Jan Brewer Thursday finally formally backed former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith as her successor.