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Republican Martha McSally after learning a recount gave her a 167-vote victory against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX (AP) — Republicans will have their largest U.S. House majority in 83 years when the new Congress convenes next month after a recount in Arizona gave the final unresolved midterm race to a Republican challenger.
PHOENIX (AP) — New campaign-contribution limits added up to millions of additional dollars for some candidates in Arizona's election last month.
PHOENIX (AP) -- A top aide to Arizona's incoming state superintendent of public instruction says Diane Douglas doesn't plan to immediately throw out the state's learning standards.
PHOENIX (AP) — Cochise and Pima counties have finished recounts of nearly 220,000 votes cast in the too-close-to-call race between Democratic Rep. Ron Barber and Republican Martha McSally.
In Kathleen Murphy’s Inbox letter on Nov. 30, she’s correct that many stupid voters don’t do, or are too lazy to do, research. They get their info from “conservative TV or radio”? What about ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, HLN, MSNBC or “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”? Are they all conservative? I don’t think so.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Attorney General-elect Mark Brnovich has announced the appointment of two top officials for his incoming administration.
Arizona Attorney General-elect Mark Brnovich has announced the appointment of two top officials for his incoming administration.
“With his executive order, President Barack Obama’s decision to act unilaterally outside of Congress has set back the debate on real immigration reform — and has made congressional action and useful solutions even more difficult to accomplish. It has only produced more liberal governmental stalemates.”
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona is joining a lawsuit that challenges the Obama administration's recently announced executive actions on immigration, Gov. Jan Brewer announced Thursday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain is blocking the confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominee to be America's second-highest ranked diplomat.
“What was broken about our immigration system? Only lack of enforcement!”
The letter from Mr. Murphy about stupid Americans was correct to an extent. Really stupid Americans are too dumb to vote. Our biggest problem is those who are willfully ignorant and too lazy to research anything. They get their information from conservative TV or radio, or simply vote the same way they have always voted — by party. That is why we had an election in which the Republicans won seats in Congress, but “liberal issues” such as higher minimum wage, background checks, reproductive rights and legalization of marijuana, among others, did pass. So it seems that American voters know what they want but don’t know who will give it to them.
A Tucson fifth-grade teacher who has been a vocal opponent of Common Core claims his First Amendment rights were violated by state School Superintendent John Huppenthal.
PHOENIX (AP) — Outgoing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Monday she is preparing a budget proposal that protects her top priorities but that she acknowledges can be ignored by governor-elect Doug Ducey.
Brewer said her budget will spare education, child welfare and mental health services from big cuts that will be needed as she seeks to fill a projected $1 billion deficit for the budget year that begins July 1. But she said it will difficult to avoid including big spending cuts in other areas.
"There are several things that are very protected in that budget, that I'll be guarding very carefully," Brewer said, ticking off the three top priorities. "So I've got those priorities, they've always been my priorities and they will continue to be my priorities."
But the Republican governor said it will be "probably be very, very difficult," to avoid major cuts in other programs, especially since Ducey has promised not to raise taxes. And she acknowledge that Ducey can take her proposal and change it however he likes, even if that means cuts to the new Department of Child Safety or behavioral health services.
"I think they will probably take my budget that's been drafted by my staff and then go in there and address the issues that they feel are important or not so important," Brewer said. "He'll be governor, he can do whatever he wants to do."
Ducey, also a Republican, takes office Jan. 5 and will roll out his budget on Jan. 16, meaning Brewer's efforts will save him time. Brewer budget director John Arnold is leading the effort to craft her new budget, and he also is part of Ducey's transition team. That means he'll likely leave plenty of options available for Ducey as he takes charge.
The budget proposal won't be made public, Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said.
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said Ducey welcomes the governor's input, but he did not give any additional comment.
Brewer called the looming budget crisis — a revenue shortfall of more than 10 percent of this budget year's $9.3 billion in spending — a challenge that Ducey can overcome. She herself faced a much bigger shortfall when she became governor after Janet Napolitano resigned in 2009 to take a job in the Obama Administration.
"Coming from where I came from it doesn't seem like such an enormous task — we were faced with a $3 billion deficit," Brewer said. "You just have to get a plan and you have to decide what it is and what your priorities are and move forward and then stick to your guns and get it done."
Brewer didn't have the chance to work with Napolitano on a budget proposal when she took office. Napolitano had stayed in office and presented her own budget proposal after accepting Barack Obama's offer to become his Homeland Security secretary, then resigned.
The state, mired in the throes of the Great recession, made massive spending cuts in Brewer's first years in office, including cuts to those top priorities Brewer is now trying to protect.
PHOENIX (AP) — The certification of the Nov. 4 general election results formally sends the Arizona's 2nd Congressional District race to a recount.
President Obama’s executive action authorizing amnesty for at least 5 million illegal immigrants was obviously unlawful and unconstitutional. He’s said so many times himself. He claims he had no choice since the good of the country demanded that he act. But that’s really not true either.
PHOENIX (AP) — If Christian Avila lived a few hundred miles to the west, he would have a driver's license and qualify for in-state college tuition and a host of other opportunities available to young people granted legal status by President Barack Obama two years ago.
But Avila lives in Phoenix, and the 24-year-old immigrant who was brought here from Mexico by his parents at age 9 still has to navigate the sprawling city in fear as he drives to school or work.
"You get nervous, your legs start to tingle a little bit when there's a cop behind you, when you're doing nothing wrong by driving to work,' said Avila, a community college student and immigration activist. "You're not breaking any rules, you're following the law. But unfortunately it's where we live."
With last week's action by Obama that expanded the deferred action program and added millions of other immigrants, Avila's plight highlights a harsh reality about the president's changes. The president may be allowing them to remain in the U.S., but it doesn't mean their state will let them drive a car, get an education at an affordable rate or obtain health insurance.
A patchwork of rules began to form in states — largely along political lines — after the president allowed some young immigrants to stay in the country. Conservative states like Nebraska and Arizona kept them from getting driver's licenses while liberal locations were much more welcoming in terms of state services and benefits.
Now, states must make new decisions on how to respond to the president's action that allows millions more immigrants to remain in the U.S.
In California, Democrats, immigration groups and health care advocates are pushing for the immigrants to receive health care under the state's version of the Medicaid program. The California Department of Health Care Services is deciding how to proceed. The president's action excludes immigrants who came to the country illegally from qualifying for federal health benefits.
In Nevada, officials are drawing up a bill for the Legislature making clear that unauthorized immigrants can become teachers in the state. Current rules specify that a prospective teacher must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident before they can receive a teaching license in Nevada.
A new gubernatorial administration in Arizona will have to decide whether to continue a hard-line approach toward state benefits that outgoing Gov. Jan Brewer took.
After Obama took action in 2012 granting legal status to 1.8 million young people brought to the U.S. as children, Brewer issued an executive order denying them driver's licenses or other state benefits, including in-state tuition at the state's public universities. A federal appeals court ruled the license ban was unconstitutional, and Brewer is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Our position is unilateral action by the president does nothing to change the fact that an illegal alien's presence is the United States is not authorized under federal law," Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said.
Arizona's Republican Governor-elect, Doug Ducey, has said he intends to continue Brewer's current ban, if it survives court challenges.
Maryland's Democratic governor, Martin O'Malley, has taken a decidedly different tack. He's a supporter of state laws granting in-state tuition to people without legal status and grants them driver's licenses. He has even been willing to get into a policy fight with Obama on the stream of unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America over the Mexican border, criticizing the White House proposal earlier this year that could have expedited the deportation of the children.
Arizona remains an outlier in its treatment of immigrants granted work permits and is among the most harsh when it comes to those who remain in the U.S. without legal authorization.
States surrounding Arizona provide in-state tuition to all residents, regardless of immigration status. And in January, California joins nine other states in allowing immigrants who can't prove they're in the U.S legally to get a driver's license.
Utah provides leniency when it comes to driving privileges and education, despite passing a law in 2011 that mirrored Arizona's landmark immigration crackdown, SB1070. The state issues driving-privilege cards that must be renewed annually for those who cannot prove they're in the country legally.
Nearly 36,300 were issued last year, said Nannette Rolfe, the director of Utah's Driver License Division. Utah also offers in-state tuition at public universities and colleges to residents not in the U.S. legally.
To be eligible, students must have attended a Utah high school for at least three years and earned a diploma or GED. They can't hold a non-immigrant visa and must file an application to legalize their immigration status when eligible to do so. In the 2012-2013 academic students, 929 students took advantage of the program.
Despite the fact that life would be easier if he left the state, Avila said he's staying put.
"This is where we got dirty as kids, this is where we learn how to speak English, this is where we learn how to do a lot of stuff," he said. "Here in Arizona is where my friends, my family, live and I don't see it as an option to run away, but rather stand up and change the conditions that we live under."
PHOENIX (AP) — Some of Arizona's most successful microbreweries are brewing for a legislative battle to hang onto their business.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The 133 ballots at the heart of a federal lawsuit in southern Arizona over election results in the hotly contested 2nd Congressional District will not be counted after all.
U.S. District Judge Cindy Jorgenson denied a request Thursday by U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and three voters to halt the official election results certification until the ballots of 133 lawful voters are counted. The official statewide election canvass is scheduled for Monday morning.
In her decision, Jorgenson said the court was not unsympathetic to voters whose ballots may have been improperly rejected. But Barber's campaign failed to prove that the discounted votes would undermine the integrity of the Nov. 4 election, Jorgenson wrote. She said the campaign's allegation that not issuing a restraining order would lead to "irreparable harm" was speculative.
"Even if all 133 votes are counted, it is undisputed that Martha McSally wins the election because she leads by a margin of 161 votes at this time," Jorgenson wrote.
Barber's campaign expressed disappointment Thursday.
"While we are disappointed in the court's decision, we remain committed to ensuring that Southern Arizonans are able to trust the integrity of this election, and we thank the voters who not only took the time to vote in this election, but who came forward to ask that their voices be heard," Barber campaign manager Kyle Quinn-Quesada said in a statement.
Quinn-Quesada did not say if the campaign planned to appeal but that they were looking forward to the recount.
The 133 ballots had been disqualified for a variety of reasons, but Barber attorney Kevin Hamilton argued that voters had done everything they were supposed to do to cast them. In many cases, he said, poll workers gave incorrect information about voting locations.
The race for the Tucson-area district between Barber, the incumbent, and Martha McSally, his Republican opponent for the second time in two years, came down to 161 votes in McSally's favor.
McSally has claimed victory and attended freshman orientation in Washington. Barber has challenged election results vigorously, first asking the boards of supervisors for Pima and Cochise counties to hold off on approving election results, a necessary step before they're approved at a state level. Both boards declined to do so.
McSally attorney Eric Spencer said it was unfair to voters who correctly cast their ballot to delay certification.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a defendant in the suit, said granting the restraining order could set precedent in other counties where ballots were disqualified. In Maricopa County, that would be up to 700 ballots, he said.
Jorgenson agreed with that sentiment, saying the hardship to the secretary of state and voters in the 2nd Congressional District outweighed the hardship to Barber's campaign.
“Regarding the woman who left her kids in a hot car for a job interview: Strangers donated more than $114K to her. That’s enough to pay off my mortgage and I’m out of work too. But I don’t have any kids. My car isn’t running right now. What should I do?”
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.
Stupid is as stupid does
Rep. Ron Barber speaks to the media after a Congressional District 2 debate with Republican challenger Martha McSally, in Tucson Oct. 14. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star/File)
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Rep. Ron Barber, D-2nd Dist., filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to stop certification of the 2nd Congressional District race in Arizona after the count put his Republican opponent fewer than 200 votes ahead of Barber.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Tucson is the latest attempt by the Tucson-area Democrat to challenge the results that had him losing to Martha McSally by 161 votes. Barber wants 133 disqualified votes to be counted before the election is certified. The results are headed for an automatic recount mandated by state law because of the razor-thin margin.
McSally has claimed victory and has attended freshman orientation in Washington.
Three Arizona voters who say their lawful votes weren't counted are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Lea Goodwine-Cesarac, an 81-year-old retired teacher, says she moved shortly before the election and voted at the wrong polling place but was not told to go to the correct one.
"No election is perfect. We rely on volunteers to run our democracy and make it work. And they deserve our thanks, but sometimes they make mistakes," Barber attorney Kevin Hamilton said.
Barber last week asked the board of supervisors for both Pima and Cochise counties to hold off on certifying the election results, a necessary step before the Arizona secretary of state certifies them on Dec. 1.
Both boards declined to do so. In Pima County, some supervisors said it was not their role to interfere in the election in that way.
The Barber campaign has also requested that Secretary of State Ken Bennett add 156 uncounted ballots to the tally. They include the 133 votes mentioned in the federal lawsuit.
Hamilton said he hopes a judge will hear the request on Tuesday.