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Gay sheriff prompts intriguing questions

A few days ago, the Yavapai Tea Party gathered at a church in rural Arizona to discuss the all-too-familiar topic of illegal immigration. Among the conservative, mostly over-55 crowd, it is a subject seen in black and white. Build a fence, add agents, reject amnesty — period. And so it was all the more striking when, off to the side in a room with "Jesus Loves Us!!" written on a chalkboard, the conversation turned to the subject on everyone's mind, if not the agenda: The conservative Arizona sheriff and Republican candidate for Congress who less than a week earlier had admitted to reporters, his constituents — indeed to the world — that he is gay.

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Line in the sand (access required)

Republican governor and GOP Legislature are digging in for long budget fight

It may have been the opening shot to an all-out war.

While Arizonans were celebrating President’s Day on Feb. 20, legislative leaders unveiled a budget that ditched her major spending initiatives.

The Governor’s Office responded in kind, describing the legislative budget as “shortsighted” and “reckless.”

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Embattled Babeu urged to evaluate congressional campaign (access required)

The act of sending out sexually suggestive photos via the Internet ended the political careers of two New York congressmen last year. But while many questioned his judgment, outrage involving Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu’s similar actions was mostly muted at the state Capitol. So far, no Republican or Democratic lawmakers have called for his resignation.

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Brewer orders halt to budget negotiations (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer threw a counterpunch at GOP lawmakers following the Monday release of their budget plan, ordering a halt to meetings between the two sides’ budget staffs until the legislative budget plan is changed to address some of her key concerns.

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