Post Politics: Arizona

Actor Steven Seagal considering run for Arizona governor

Action star Steven Seagal says he is considering running for governor of Arizona in 2014.

Seagal told the local ABC affiliate that he has discussed the possibility with Maricopa County Sheriff and anti-illegal immigration activist Joe Arpaio.

"Joe Arpaio and I were talking about me running for governor of Arizona, which was kind of a joke," Seagal, 61, said. "I suppose I would remotely consider it, but probably I would have a lot more other responsibilities ... that may be more important to address."

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‘Birther’ controversy: Arizona election official says it’s ‘possible’ Obama might not make ballot

Arizona’s top election official said in a radio interview Thursday that it’s “possible” President Obama may not make the state’s November ballot due to unanswered questions about his birth certificate.

President Obama. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Ken Bennett, a Republican who is eyeing a bid to succeed Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in 2014, told conservative radio host Mike Broomhead that he is “not playing to the birthers.”

“I’m not a birther,” Bennett said in the interview on KFYI. “I believe that the president was born in Hawaii — or at least, I hope he was.”

But he added: “My responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure that the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications of the office they are seeking.”

Obama, saying he was frustrated with “this silliness,” publicly released the long form of his birth certificate more than a year ago.

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Ron Barber, former Gabby Giffords aide, sees race as call to civility

TUCSON, Ariz. — Ten miles down the road from the Safeway where he nearly lost his life last January, Ron Barber is holding court with some three dozen supporters.

It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon, 454 days since a bullet shot at point-blank range by alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner passed through former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) head, and 454 days since two separate bullets struck Barber, then Giffords’s district director, in the left cheek and thigh.

As he explains to volunteers his reasons for running to succeed his former boss in Congress, the bespectacled, soft-spoken Barber — who until recently walked with the aid of a cane — doesn’t shy away from mentioning the shooting that took the lives of six, left 13 wounded and would forever enter into the political lexicon the name of this city in the Sonoran Desert.

But he argues that the incident that almost ended his life was actually the beginning of something greater.

“We were not defined by the day of January the 8th,” he tells the volunteers gathered at his downtown campaign headquarters for a joint event with the No. 2 House Democrat, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.). “We were defined by what happened afterward.”

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Russell Pearce, Arizona immigration law author, says Romney’s ‘policy is identical to mine’

TUCSON, Ariz. – Mitt Romney’s tough stance on illegal immigration during the 2012 campaign has won him the support of an influential conservative voice on the issue -- Russell Pearce, the former Arizona state Senate president and author of the state’s controversial anti-illegal immigration law.

Former Arizona state Senate president Russell Pearce (R), author of the state’s SB 1070 illegal immigration law. (AP Photo/Tim Hacker/ East Valley Tribune)
In an interview Tuesday night after a tea party dinner in Gilbert, Ariz., Pearce – who, in part due to his authorship of the SB 1070 law, late last year became the first Arizona legislator to be ousted from office in a recall election – described the former Massachusetts governor’s stand on illegal immigration as the same as his own.

“His immigration policy is identical to mine,” Pearce said. “Attrition by enforcement. It’s identical to mine – enforce the laws. We have good laws, just enforce them.”

A Romney spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

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Michigan, Arizona primary day: Is Rick Santorum gaining on Mitt Romney?

It’s the final countdown.

Today is primary day in the two big states before Super Tuesday, Arizona and Michigan. They’re both states that Mitt Romney had been expected to win easily – until Rick Santorum began gaining momentum among conservative voters as the “not-Romney” alternative.

Of the two, Michigan is by far the more competitive race – the candidates have been spending the bulk of their time there in recent days, and both Romney and Santorum hold their primary-night parties there tonight.

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Is Republican primary leaning too far away from economic issues?

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Elections are usually about the big things.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) waves after addressing the Associated Builders and Contractors National Board of Directors meeting at the Arizona Biltmore. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
So should it be of concern to Republicans that the GOP presidential primary has taken a detour into social issues at a time when the economy is still the top issue on Americans’ minds?

Some Republicans who attended Mitt Romney’s speech here to the Associated Builders and Contractors national meeting Thursday morning said undoubtedly yes.

“I’m concerned that the Republicans have a real chance to hurt themselves through the primary process,” said Mark Wylie, a 61-year-old Winter Springs, Fla., resident who is the president of the Associated Builders and Contractors’ Central Florida Chapter.

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Santorum: Obama ‘trying to crush the traditional Judeo-Christian values of America’

TUCSON, Ariz. – Rick Santorum on Wednesday showed no signs of backing down from his provocative statements about President Obama and religion, accusing the president of working to undermine the country’s “Judeo-Christian values” through his implementation of health-care reform and other policies.

People wait in line to attend a campaign rally at the Sabbar Shrine Center for Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Tucson, Arizona. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
“Essentially, we are going to have to hold together on some set of moral codes and principles,” Santorum said at the Sabbar Shrine in downtown Tucson, speaking before an enthusiastic tea party crowd of about 500 people ahead of an evening CNN debate.

“And we’re seeing very evidently what the president’s moral codes and principles are about. We see a president who is systematically trying to crush the traditional Judeo-Christian values of America. We saw it with Obamacare and the implementation of Obamacare, where his values are going to be imposed on a church’s values.”

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Today on the trail: Arizona CNN Republican debate and Rick Santorum’s opportunity

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The next 24 hours could be the most decisive of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s political career.

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign rally at the El-Zaribah Shrine Auditorium, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
The four candidates for the Republican presidential nomination square off Wednesday night in a CNN debate in Mesa, Ariz., their last debate before the Feb. 28 primaries in Michigan and Arizona and the Super Tuesday contests early next month.

If Santorum’s remarks at a Phoenix town hall Tuesday night are any indication, he plans to give a strong defense of some of his more controversial campaign-trail comments, trying to use the controversy that has flared in recent days to his own advantage and casting himself as a more authentic candidate than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

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