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Arizona's presidential preference election is over, and we know Mitt Romney won the entire state with a 20-point lead over Rick Santorum.

But the results vary county to county.

In Pima County, Romney's lead was 14 points, he had 44 percent of the vote to Santorum's 30 percent. In Maricopa, Romney widened his lead to 25 points, with 49 to 24 percent of the voters.

Two more rural counties favored Santorum a bit more. Republican voters in Yuma and Cochise counties gave Romney just a five-point lead against Santorum.

Ron Paul got about 8 percent in each of the counties mentioned above, and Newt Gingrich won about 16 percent of the vote in those counties, except for his 20 percent showing in Yuma County.

2012 presidential election Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich Rick Perry Rick Santorum Ron Paul,


The Arizona Republic *repoets that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is almost broke.

And there's no relief in sight, despite the commission needing cash to continue operating as it works toward final implementation of the congressional and legislative district maps it has drawn.

Legislators are unsympathetic. Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin says if the commission had cooperated with the attorney general in an Open Meeting Law investigation, it wouldn't have spent big legal bills.

That's despite the commission having prevailed in its legal fight, with a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruling that the commission wasn't subject to the state's Open Meeting Law, because the constitutional provision that creates the commission has its own open meeting provision.

Commission Executive Director Ray Bladine says the commission's only recourse to get more money from the Legislature is to go to court. A commission meeting may be held later this week or next to discuss the possibilities, Bladine says.

Andy Tobin Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Arizona Legislature Ray Bladine,


Tonight’s debate is the twenty first scheduled so far this presidential election cycle, so CNN decided to mix it up a bit.

For the first time, the four front-runner GOP candidates are sitting side-by-side at a table, instead of standing behind lecterns.

The change is because a field of just four candidates allows for a more intimate setting, says Sam Feist, CNN's Washington bureau chief.

Some of the questions the candidates will field at that table will be from Arizonans.

CNN worked with the Arizona Republican Party to help find some undecided voters, Fiest says, and started with a list of hundreds of people.

“We get that pool of voters down to truly undecided voters, people who just frankly haven’t made up their mind, they haven’t been involved in anybody’s campaign, they haven’t made any contributions whatsoever and so that’s the group of people that will be in a position to ask some questions," he says.

The debate gets underway at 6 p.m. and is the last scheduled before Arizona’s primary next Tuesday. It’s also the last before several states vote on Super Tuesday, March 6.

2012 Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich Rick Santorum Ron Paul presidential election,


The final debate before Arizona's GOP presidential primary is just a few hours away and final preparations are underway. The City of Mesa is showing the debate on a huge screen in front of the Mesa Arts Center. Right now organizers are setting up hundreds of chairs as well as tents for food vendors. The whole event is meant to be a bit of a party. Political candidates for Arizona's open US Senate seat are also setting up booths to promote their campaigns to the GOP faithful who are on hand to watch the debate.

Dozens of Ron Paul supporters including a woman named Shay, showed up hours in advance to make sure their candidate is well represented. She said all the Paul supporters standing in front of the venue are now friends.

Arizona is one of two GOP primaries scheduled for next Tuesday.


Arizona Public Media will have two seats at the Republican presidential debate in Mesa tonight.

Political correspondents Christopher Conover and Andrea Kelly will cover and provide details for NPR 89.1, for Thursday's Arizona Illustrated and for online and our social media outlets.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul will square off in front of a live audience in what will decidedly be Romney territory.

The debate will be nationally telecast on CNN.

Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich Rick Santorum Ron Paul,


The latest Arizona poll on the Republican Presidential primary shows Mitt Romney holds a smaller lead on Rick Santorum than other recent polls indicated.

Public Policy Polling released a poll today showing the two are within the margin of error with Romney taking 36 percent of the respondents' support to Santorum's 33 percent. Newt Gingrich is in a distant third place and Ron Paul in fourth. The survey was conducted Feb. 17 through 19, and includes responses from 412 "likely primary voters."

Last week American Research Group published the results of its latest Arizona poll conducted with 600 likely primary voters in late January. It showed Romney with 38 percent of the poll votes. Santorum had 31 percent.

Also last week, Rasmussen Reports released a poll of 750 likely Republican primary voters who weighed in that 39 percent of them would vote for Romney, to Santorum's 31 percent.

In recent weeks, Santorum has gained popularity after winning the caucuses in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, and Santorum leads Romney in polling in Michigan, which votes Feb. 28. the same day as Arizonans.

2012 presidential election Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich Rick Perry Rick Santorum Ron Paul,

About Political Buzz

News, commentary, analysis from the AZPM political team: Christopher Conover, Andrea Kelly, Michael Chihak.