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Mesa’s Watergate: Cortes’ campaign conspirators should come clean

The Arizona Constitution, Article 7 section 12, charges the Legislature with the duty to “maintain the purity of elections.” Arizona case law has held that attempting to place a “diversionary candidate” on the ballot is illegal. A “diversionary candidate” is one who is in the race solely to divert votes from a particular candidate so as to give an advantage to another candidate. The recent lawsuit to have Olivia Cortes removed from the race was filed to honor the rule of law.

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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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