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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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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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School groups sue over empowerment accounts (access required)

Groups representing teachers and public school districts filed suit on Monday against a new state voucher-style system for disabled students, alleging that the program violates constitutional bans on state aid for private and religious schools.

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Lawsuit filed against Cortes; claims she’s a ‘fraudulent” candidate (access required)

An East Valley resident today accused Republican Olivia Cortes of being part of a “cynical ploy” to dilute the vote against Senate President Russell Pearce, who is facing a Nov. 8 recall election. In her complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Mary Lou Boettcher alleges that Cortes is a Pearce supporter and called her a “fraudulent and diversionary candidate.”

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