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They can't gather their first signature for more than seven months, but foes of Republican Diane Douglas, newly elected the state school superintendent, now have the legal ability to start soliciting funds for the effort.
Democrat Felecia Rotellini officially conceded to Republican Mark Brnovich in the race to become Arizona’s next attorney general.
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.
Republican Jeff Dewitt celebrates his unopposed victory for State Treasurer at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.
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.
For Gilbert residents, Election Day will be heavily focused on deciding who will serve on two of the town’s school boards, as well as who will represent them in the state House and Senate.
Chandler and Tempe voters will have plenty to vote for on the ballots in the Nov. 4 general election.
Education is one of the most critical components to a strong, growing economy. As a recently retired educator, I have seen firsthand the challenges facing our public schools, and these challenges result from a lack of dollars reaching our classrooms and mounting mandates burdening our teachers.
As a member of the Gilbert Town Council, I join with other current and former elected officials who fully endorse Ron Bellus for the Gilbert School Board. We understand the importance of building relationships when working with one another in the governing process. Those relationships aren’t created overnight; it takes time to build trust and mutual respect.
PHOENIX -- Calling it a violation of constitutional rights, a federal appeals court on Wednesday voided a 2006 voter-approved measure which denied bail to those not in the country legally who were arrested for other crimes.
Writing for the majority of the 11-member court, Judge Raymond Fisher said there is a presumptive right of those arrested to be released on bail. And he said the fact someone may have entered the country illegally is an entirely separate issue and irrelevant to the question.
"The Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect every person within the nation's borders from deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law,'' he wrote. "Even one whose presence in this country is unlawful ... is entitled to that constitutional protection.''
And Fisher said that, regardless of someone's status, there are "profound effects'' of pretrial detention, endangering someone's job, interrupting income and impairing family relationships. He also said it can affect someone's ability to assist an attorney in preparing a defense.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he is studying the ruling. But he said the way it was argued in trial court by Andrew Thomas, his predecessor, may make it virtually impossible to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
Proposition 100 makes bail unavailable to those charged with "serious felony offenses'' if they are in this country illegally and if "the proof is evident or the presumption great'' that the person is guilty of the offense charged.
It was crafted by former state Senate President Russell Pearce -- at the time a state representative -- who argued that anyone who has crossed the border illegally probably has few ties to this country. That, he said, automatically makes them at greater risk of fleeing before trial.
Voters approved the measure on a 3-1 ratio.
"We do not question that Arizona has a compelling interest in ensuring that persons accused of serious crimes, including undocumented immigrants, are available for trial,'' Fisher wrote. But the judge said there was absolutely no evidence in the record that those in the country illegally are more likely not to show up for trial than lawful residents.
In a dissent, Judge Richard Tallman said that ignores the statements made during the 2006 campaign by Thomas, then the Maricopa County attorney, that "far too many illegal immigrants accused of serious crimes have jumped bail and slipped across the border in order to avoid justice in an Arizona courtroom.''
But Fisher said his colleague is wrong to rely on that statement, saying it's not substantiated. Anyway, he said, Thomas "is not a credible source.''
"He was disbarred in 2012 for using his office to destroy political enemies, filing malicious and unfounded criminal charges, committing perjury and engaging in a host of other crimes,'' Fisher said of Thomas.
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, in a separate opinion concurring with the majority, went even farther. She said it appears lawmakers put the issue on the ballot -- and voters approved it -- not to ensure that people remained for trial but simply to punish them for being in this country illegally in the first place.
For example, she noted that Pearce promoted the bill by saying that "all illegal aliens in this country ought to be detained, debriefed and deported.''
And Nguyen said that Pearce, in a speech on the House floor, opposed follow-up legislation designed to ease the measure a bit.
"They are here illegally, they have no business being released no (matter) what the charge in reality because they're a flight risk,'' he said. "They need to be turned over to ICE.''
Pearce, now working at the Maricopa County Treasurer's Office, called the ruling "absurd.'' And even in the face of Nguyen's criticism, he would not back down from his contention there is a legitimate reason for Arizona to have separate rules on bail for those without papers.
"We know that a large proportion of crime is committed by those out on bail or bond,'' he said Wednesday.
"They have no business being in the country in the first place,'' Pearce continued. "How can you release them back onto the street for a country they're illegally in to commit more crime?''
Pearce also called the ruling a violation of states' rights, citing approval by 78 percent of the voters.
"That a super majority virtually of every demographic,'' he said.
But Fisher said that vote does not substitute for proof that Arizona had a problem with people not in this country legally skipping out.
"At most the vote shows that voters (ITALICS) perceived (ROMAN) a problem, not that one actually existed,'' the judge wrote.
Montgomery said his own experience prosecuting felony drunk-driving cases convinces him that those not in the country legally are less likely to show up in court. But he conceded that Thomas, in mounting the initial defense of the law, never provided such data but instead sought to argue that Arizona was legally entitled to enact such a policy.
That, said Montgomery, was probably the weakest argument that could have been made. And what's worse is that it's too late in the legal process to now seek to introduce new evidence.
Montgomery said that hamstrings any ability to successfully defend the law, a factor he will consider in deciding whether it's worth the time seeking Supreme Court review.
The lack of data was only part of the reason for the 9th Circuit ruling.
Fisher said the crimes that voters said should mean bail denial to undocumented individuals goes far beyond what can be considered extremely serious.
"Instead, they encompass an exceedingly broad range of offenses, including not only serious offenses but also relatively minor ones, such as unlawful copying of a sound recording, altering a lottery ticket with intent to defraud, tamper with a computer with intent to defraud and theft of property worth between $3,000 and $4,000,'' Fisher wrote.
The court also said the state constitutional amendment is flawed because it does not require prosecutors to prove that a specific defendant is a flight risk but instead lumps all undocumented individuals into a single category.
As proof, Fisher noted there were undocumented individuals who had been arrested prior to approval of Proposition 100, granted bail or released on their own recognizance, and later showed up for court hearings -- only to then be ordered into custody under the terms of Proposition 100.
And to show the illogic of the claim the measure ensures people remain for trial, Fisher pointed out the measure covers foreign citizens who have no legal right to return to their home countries.
"Conversely, Proposition 100 (ITALICS) excludes (ROMAN) from coverage individuals who would seem (ITALICS) more likely (ROMAN) to flee -- such as foreign citizens who are in this country lawfully as tourists and persons having dual citizenship,'' the judge wrote.
Finally, he disputed presumption that being undocumented means few ties to the community, citing national research that found nearly 50 percent of those in this country have been in the country more than 10 years and more than 17 percent of household heads are homeowners.
PHOENIX -- State lawmakers cannot ignore a court order to provide more funds for schools now while they appeal the findings, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper rejected arguments by attorneys for the Legislature that her decision the state owes schools what translates to an extra $331 million is somehow not in effect. They had argued that her July ruling was subject to an automatic "stay'' while they seek Court of Appeals review.
She said her ruling simply ordered lawmakers to start complying with a previous decision by the Arizona Supreme Court that they had ignored a 2000 voter-approved mandate to adjust state aid to schools each year to account for inflation. More to the point, her order calculated exactly how much needs to be added to basic state aid "to fulfill that mandate.''
What that means, she said, is her order is in effect -- and enforceable.
Peter Gentala, an attorney for the state House, said Cooper is wrong in believing the state has to start paying the money before the Supreme Court gets a chance to see how she calculated the figure.
Gentala also said that ignores the state's financial problems. He pointed to a report released Tuesday from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee projecting a $200 million deficit for this fiscal year even without the payment to the schools.
Don Peters, who represents the school districts that sued, said Tuesday's order does not require the Legislature to come into session immediately to appropriate the funds.
But what it does, Peters said, is provide options the schools can seek to ensure the money starts flowing and is not held up by delays caused by appeals. And he said it even could provide a method of getting the money even if lawmakers balk.
Peters said the judge could simply direct the state treasurer to hand over the money to the Department of Education to be distributed to schools. That would bypass the Legislature entirely and make legislative inaction irrelevant.
And he said that order could have teeth, with Cooper empowered to jail for contempt those who ignore their orders -- including the treasurer.
Peters stressed, though, he is hoping it does not come to that.
Lawmakers at first fought the whole question of whether they were obligated to comply with the voter mandate, contending that 2000 vote was not binding on them.
That argument, however, was rejected last year by the Supreme Court. That left it up to Cooper to decide what was really owed.
That $317 million figure is what Cooper said would have been available this year to schools had legislators not ignored the inflation-funding mandate for several years during the recession. In essence, she looked at state aid for the last year when there was compliance, computed each year's inflation, and came up with a number.
Senate President Andy Biggs, however, contends that number needs to be offset by the money lawmakers gave to schools above and beyond what was required by inflation. He puts that figure at about $240 million.
Cooper, however, ruled in July that's not the way the law reads. And Tuesday's order says unless the appellate court intervenes, it's time for lawmakers to start paying up.
Peters said there is precedent for what the judge is doing -- and for the schools to seek some sanctions if lawmakers balk.
One is directing the treasurer to distribute the funds under threat of contempt. But he said there are other options.
Two decades ago the Supreme Court ruled that the system of funding school construction violated state constitutional provisions for a "general and uniform'' school system. The justices said it resulted in gross disparities between the ability of "rich'' and "poor'' districts, with some being able to afford domed stadiums while others had crumbling bathrooms.
But the justices did not spell out for lawmakers how to fix the system. Instead, they ruled that if lawmakers did not come up with an acceptable plan, they would bar the treasurer from distributing any funds to schools, a move that would have effectively shut down the education system.
It never came to that. And Peters said he presumes the same sort of compliance if the courts issue a similar order in this case.
"There have been times the Legislature didn't like court rulings,'' Peters said. "But there's never been an occasion where they just said, 'We're not going to do it.' ''
He said no one wants to see that kind of stalemate.
"But I will also tell you that if it comes down to that, I'm going to bet on the courts,'' he said. "Because they can send somebody to jail.''
Cooper is separately considering a claim by schools they are entitled to about $1.3 billion they did not get in inflation funds for prior years. A hearing on that is set for later this month.
Follow Howard Fischer on Twitter at @azcapmedia.
State lawmakers cannot ignore a court order to provide more funds for schools now while they appeal the findings, a judge ruled Tuesday.
I was given the opportunity to speak to Mr. Doug Ducey on Sunday, Sept. 28, as one of the candidates for governor. I have shied away from politics for some time now as I have been unimpressed with many of the candidates and just voting for the least harmful to our economy and way of life. I see Mr. Ducey much differently and will give him my full support. I am impressed by Mr. Ducey’s years of experience in business and as state treasurer. After my conversation and listening to him talk to others, I find him to be an extremely credible person.
An investigation by the Gilbert Public Schools district into allegations against Gilbert High School football coach Tim Rutt indicates Rutt violated both district and Arizona Interscholastic Association regulations.
John Steinbeck was one of America’s most prolific and insightful novelists. Renowned for his prize-winning works that most of us either enjoyed or endured at some point in our education (depending upon our perspective), one of Steinbeck’s lesser known novellas is my personal fa-vorite. It is a penetrating little book called “The Pearl.”
Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Fred DuVal warned Sunday that businesses will not come to Arizona if the state scraps the Common Core academic standards.
The Arizona Republican Party has named a replacement for former Sen. Russell Pearce, who resigned his top party post following a backlash to his remarks advocating mandatory contraception or sterilization for people on Medicaid.
The first debate between gubernatorial candidates Republican Doug Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal was what I expected it to be. Their positions on education and jobs are quite well known. Both spoke well, dressed alike and were pleasant. It was what was to be expected.
Nearly three out of four registered voters didn't bother to cast ballots for any of the primary races.
Electing a replacement for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer tops the list of items to watch in Arizona's November general election. Voters also will choose a new secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and top schools official.
>> This information is provided in community partnership with Harkins Theatres. For showtimes, theater locations and tickets, go to HarkinsTheatres.com.
The outcome of the race for governor could turn on who can scare the middle class more, especially over the high cost of college.
The candidates for the Mesa City Council and the mayoral race won’t have to run again in November as one candidate from all four races received more than 50 percent of the vote during Tuesday’s primary election.