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Cortes bows out to avoid court hearing (access required)

Olivia Cortes, who faced a lawsuit claiming she was a sham candidate, withdrew today from the recall election targeting Senate President Russell Pearce.

Her withdrawal from the high-profile race was part of a deal she made to avoid having to face another court hearing on Friday in which more witnesses were expected to link her candidacy with Pearce supporters.

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Cortes’ lawyer asks Supreme Court to dismiss lawsuit, stop hearing

Olivia Cortes’ lawyer today asked the Arizona Supreme Court to stop a hearing scheduled for Friday and to declare the case against the beleaguered recall candidate moot.

Ballots have already been printed for the Nov. 8 special election targeting Senate President Russell Pearce, and the lawsuit against Cortes is therefore moot, argued Anthony Tsontakis, who earlier successfully defended Cortes against a temporary restraining order seeking to kick her off the ballot.

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New witnesses to testify in Cortes lawsuit

A judge has scheduled a Friday hearing to allow new witnesses to testify in a lawsuit that seeks to disqualify the candidacy of a Mesa woman whose critics say is in the race to help Senate President Russell Pearce keep his seat. Election Attorney Thomas Ryan, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Pearce critic, plans to call more witnesses during a 3:30 p.m. evidentiary hearing.

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IRC votes to OK congressional draft map; Republicans object (access required)

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission today approved a congressional draft map that includes a competitive district in the middle of the Phoenix area, voting 3-1 over objections from the two Republican members. Independent Chairwoman Colleen Mathis and Democratic Commissioners Jose Herrera and Linda McNulty voted for the map, while Republican Commissioner Richard Stertz voted against it.

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Attorney: Cortes lawsuit will continue despite sent ballots (access required)

The attorney who is seeking to disqualify Republican Olivia Cortes from the recall election in Mesa is moving ahead with the lawsuit even though ballots have already been printed and some have been sent to a handful of voters.

The lawsuit alleges that Cortes is a part of a “cynical ploy” to divert votes from another candidate in order to help incumbent Senate President Russell Pearce retain his seat in the Nov. 8 special election.

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