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Pederson endorsing Wercinski

After tantalizing followers via Twitter on Tuesday with the promise of a "BIG" endorsement, Sam Wercinski announced today Jim Pederson is backing him. The bigwig Democratic developer will also serve on Wercinski's finance committee for the SOS race, the former real estate commissioner said. "We've done a lot of work and solidified our base and support statewide," Wercinski told our reporter.

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With a name like ‘Dean Martin,’ it has to be good

Something other than the state's overdrawn checkbook is stewing in the treasurer's office. Dean Martin's campaign Web site - votedeanmartin.com - has been updated with a countdown clock. "It's coming soon" the site says, under a ticker that shows the days, hours, minutes and seconds slipping away. What is "coming soon" remains unclear.

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Waring undecided on treasurer bid

Sen. Jim Waring told our reporter this afternoon he might be deciding whether to open an exploratory committee for state treasurer in the next week or so. Waring said people have told him they would support him if he runs for the office. "Realistically, do I think I could win? Yep. Do I think I am qualified? I do. But I am not sure it's 100% something I want to do," he said.

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The incredible shrinking Senate

Sen. Chuck Gray has announced he won't be seeking reelection in 2010, a big surprise considering he was widely expected to seek the chamber's presidency. "I am not a career politician," he said in a statement Friday. "I am a husband and father who served his state and community and is now preparing to return to private life for a time." Gray, the current Senate majority leader, said business opportunities have presented themselves and they "cannot be ignored."

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When the offer’s off

After the bills passed, Sen. Albert Hale complained that he and the Republicans were in the middle of negotiations when leadership decided to go ahead and vote the bill out, presumably since they already had Sen. Thayer Verschoor's vote. The move doesn't bode well for future negotiations, Hale said.

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Counting votes

Without Democratic support, Senate Republicans will be counting on every GOP vote they can muster. Sen. Barbara Leff is out of town and Sen. Ron Gould is a "no." That means Senate leadership will need the vote of everyone else in the caucus...

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Special Session: Get ready for Thursday

Gov. Jan Brewer and GOP leaders are expected to meet this week to discuss a special session, which is still being penciled in for Nov. 17-19. House Speaker Kirk Adams and Senate President Bob Burns both told our reporter that they were speaking with members about the budget changes that would be voted on and both were upbeat about the possibility of the session happening.

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A different kind of effort

Sen. Russell Pearce told our reporter yesterday he is advocating lawmakers "simply ignore" the maintenance of effort requirements for K-12, universities and healthcare funding that the state agreed to when it accepted the federal stimulus aid earlier this year.

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