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Rios dynasty threatened amid tough GOP challenge (access required)

The Rios family has represented Pinal County in the Arizona Legislature for the past three decades, establishing a Democratic dynasty that has withstood numerous challenges over the years. But this year a Republican with Tea Party leanings has rousted a surprising level of support in a district that has been a Democratic stronghold ever since the lines were drawn.

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State debt: Arizona’s money pit (access required)

The state has borrowed more than $2 billion during the past four fiscal years, boosting its total debt load to $9.7 billion. At least one-third of the state’s debt must be repaid using money from the same account that lawmakers draw upon to pay for public education, Medicaid programs and other basic government services.

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