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According to the Rocky Mountain Poll, 41% of Arizona Republicans are voting for Mitt Romney. The next most popular GOP candidate is undecided with 25%. Rick Santorum gets 14% of the GOP vote.

The Rocky Mountain Poll also shows Romney beating President Obama in a head to head match up. According to the survey, 37% of voters favor President Obama while 43% like Romney in a head to head match up. President Obama beats all other Republican candidates according to the poll.

Arizona’s primary is February 28th.


Pay off your debt.

That is the singular message coming from the experts in the wake of the nation's fiscal woes of the last few years. It's an admonition for businesses, individuals and governmental entities.

So with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer saying she wants to use some of the state's improved tax revenue money to pay off state debt, why are Democrats complaining?

Because they want the money used in other ways. For example, restore some of the $1 billion or so cut from public education funding in the last few years, or the half-billion cut from AHCCCS/Medicaid funding.

Here's the scenario:

The state mortgaged several properties, including the Capitol and the Executive Office Tower next to the Capitol, for $81 million at 3 percent annual interest for 20 years and leased them back.

Because the investors wanted a guaranteed return on the money, the state agreed to a penalty of 10 years' interest if it were paid off before 10 years had lapsed.

Now the state is bringing in much more revenue than it projected, $500 million or more just this fiscal year. Brewer says she wants to pay off the debt and "burn the mortgage" for the state's centennial on Feb. 14.

Doing so means paying the lenders $105 million. the borrowing came two years ago, so that works out effectively to a 15 percent annual interest rate.

Doesn't matter, Brewer and Republican legislative leaders say. It's better to have it paid off. The state would pay the money now or over 10 years, and it has the money now, so why not? they argue.

Democrats say why not pay it off over 10 years and use the $105 million now to restore some spending in needed areas?

Brewer and the Republican super majority in the Legislature almost assuredly will get their way on this one. Look for the smoke from that burning mortgage in a month or so.

Arizona Capitol Arizona Legislature Debt Gov Jan Brewer,


Former State Representative David Lujan is moving to the Senate. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors selected Lujan to take over for Kyrsten Sinema who resigned last week to run for Congress.

Lujan served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010 when he made an unsuccessful bid for Attorney General.

Lujan will serve the remaining year of Sinema’s term. He is not expected to run for re-election. He will take his seat in the coming days.


After hearing the public’s reaction last night to a proposed new law that would make it illegal to send text messages while driving in Tucson, the City Council says it will take a formal vote on the idea within a month.

Council members seemed supportive of such a ban but decided to make changes to the proposal, including who would be exempt and how steep the fine could be, and then reconsider it later.

The Tucson city attorney drafted the proposal using the Phoenix city ordinance that bans texting while driving there. During the public comment portion of the meeting, county resident Mark Spear said it could be hard to enforce, and suggested the council slow down its timeline.

“I think there should be a pilot program with a review of the effectiveness and public input prior to continuing after the pilot program," Spear said.

Others spoke in support of the ban, including the chairman of the city and county bicycle advisory committee, and a local trauma doctor.

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, who supports a ban, said she thinks it would serve as a deterrent.

“Having traveled in cities where these kinds of bans are in effect, one of the first things that gets communicated when you get behind the wheel is a cab driver or a friend or somebody saying, ‘don’t text around here,’” Uhlich said.

Similar proposals have been made to ban texting while driving statewide, but those have never made it into law, which is one of the reasons city councilmembers say want to take action locally. The council plans to take a final vote on a Tucson texting while driving ban within the next 30 days.


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Coming to a bookshelf near you, the “Female Force Gabrielle Giffords” comic book. The publication put out by Bluewater Productions features the life of Congresswoman Giffords including the shooting on January 8, 2011 and her recovery.

In an official press release, Bluewater president Darren Davis said, “ Not to diminish the loss of life or life-changing injuries but we witnessed something incredible.”

Others featured in the “Female Force” series include Michele Obama, Hillary Clinton, J.K. Rowling, and Sarah Palin.

The print version of the Giffords comic will be available at the end of the month. The digital copy is now for sale on the Internet.

Giffords January 8,


The majority of the major Republican presidential candidates running national campaigns have filed for Arizona's Feb. 28 primary, and any others have until the end of the day to do so.

That includes Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Michele Bachman and Herman Cain, the two Republican candidates who have suspended their presidential campaigns, did not file.

About a dozen lesser-known Republicans filed to be on the party’s primary ballot, including several from Tucson.

The only other party, so far, with candidates running here is the Green party, for which a handful of people are on the Arizona ballot. Even though there are a number of lesser-known Democrats running in other states, the Arizona Democratic Party is not holding a primary to pick its nominee.

The secretary of state is planning to hold a public drawing Tuesday to determine the order in which the names will appear on the party ballots.

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.