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POLITICAL PULSE

We've seen a plethora of polls released recently, with right-leaning Rasmussen Reports and left-leaning Public Policy Polling surveying the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

You can visit our daily dispatch, The Range for links to the various surveys if you want all the details. But here are some key takeaways:

• Gov. Jan Brewer has taken the lead in the race for governor among Republican candidates, but the numbers aren't exactly dominating. PPP says Brewer has the support of 38 percent of the voters, while 19 percent support political newcomer Buz Mills; 16 percent support Arizona Treasurer Dean Martin; and 3 percent support Tucson attorney John Munger.

That's a brighter picture for Brewer than a recent Rasmussen survey that showed the incumbent governor had the support of 26 percent of Republicans, while Mills had the support of 18 percent; Munger had the support of 14 percent; and Martin had the support of 12 percent.

• The governor's race remains a toss-up. Public Policy Polling has Attorney General Terry Goddard leading all of his potential GOP rivals, although the gap between him and Brewer is slim. But Rasmussen shows Goddard well behind all four GOP candidates.

• Sen. John McCain isn't very popular among Republican voters. PPP notes that 55 percent of voters surveyed disapproved of McCain, while just 34 percent approved of his performance.

PPP says that 46 percent of GOP voters plan to support McCain in this year's Republican primary, while just 35 percent support former congressman J.D. Hayworth. That's because Hayworth is even more disliked than McCain among Republican voters.

That 11-point lead is a wider margin for McCain than the most recent Rasmussen survey, which gave him just a 5-point lead over Hayworth.

• In a matchup with Democrat Rodney Glassman, the PPP poll showed McCain capturing 49 percent of the vote to Glassman's 33 percent.

But if Hayworth were to beat McCain in the primary, Glassman might have a shot. The PPP poll showed him with 42 percent of the vote compared to Hayworth's 39 percent.

A full 78 percent of the voters surveyed didn't know enough about Glassman to form an opinion of him.


THREE'S A CROWD

With only a few weeks before the May 26 deadline to qualify for this year's ballot, Democrat Rodney Glassman is suddenly seeing some company in the race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Hell-raising Arizona journalist John Dougherty jumped into the race last week.

Dougherty, who uncovered former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington's financial shenanigans and hammered Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio while he worked at the Phoenix New Times between 1993 and 2006, tells The Skinny that he's "seen this cycle with McCain go on for too long. The run to the right and then back to the left, back and dipsy-doodle and spin around. It's just been ridiculous."

Dougherty says one of his campaign themes will be "accountability now."

"That's what we do in the media, is hold these guys accountable," he says. "Otherwise, it's just going to turn into platitudes and B.S. and not really talking about the situation that we're facing. We've got the police state. We've got a militarized border. We've got a war on drugs. We've got all of these things that no one is bringing into the debate, and we will."

Dougherty, who plans a low-budget campaign that leverages the Internet, is confident he'll get the signatures necessary with the help of volunteers and paid petition-passers.

"We're going to be on the ballot," Dougherty says.

Dougherty isn't the only Johnny-come-lately to the Democratic primary. Randy Parraz, a political activist and labor organizer, also recently announced he was joining the race.

Parraz says he is running as a candidate who is "really strong on the issues and can push a more progressive voice."

Parraz has spent five years in Arizona—off and on since 2002—working with labor organizations, which eventually led to clashes with Arpaio. He was arrested after a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting, but the charges didn't stick.

"I'm a community organizer," Parraz says. "I can connect with the workers; I can connect with young people; I can connect with Latinos; I can help drive turnout."

Glassman says he's not worried about the last-minute competition.

"I'm energized and looking forward to discussing the issues that are facing Arizona, such as the need for a U.S. senator focused on job-creation and supporting our educational system," says Glassman, who points out that he has been endorsed by labor organizations, as well as Congressman Raúl Grijalva and dozens of local elected officials.

"I look forward to being part of the democratic team that brings new leadership to Arizona, from the senate and governor's race down to the treasurer and mine inspector."


HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS

Republican gubernatorial candidate Buz Mills got some bad press last week with the revelation that he had been sued for fraud by a former business partner in Florida.

A trial court ordered Mills to pay the former partner in a cell-phone-tower business $4.7 million, but before the case could make its way through the appeals process, Mills and the former partner settled out of court in 2003.

The news about the lawsuit led Tucson attorney John Munger, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, to ask Mills to drop out of the race.

"Frankly, the Republican Party cannot have a candidate who is standing for nomination who can't win the general," Munger says. "I can't see any way he can win the general with this kind of thing on his record. (Democrat) Terry Goddard, as a law-enforcement officer, would just tear him apart."

Mills wasn't available for an interview, but his campaign issued a statement saying he wasn't going anywhere.

"As a lawyer, John Munger should know the difference between accusations made in depositions and testimony, and a decision that was vacated by a judge, but since his flailing campaign needs attention, I guess this is his attempt at getting some," said Mills, who has put up more than a million dollars of his own money for his campaign. "As the only candidate for governor who will balance the budget by cutting spending across the board, who won't raise taxes, and who won't add mountains of debt as Munger does, I look forward to the continued spirited debate."


IT'S A WRAP

State lawmakers wrapped up the legislative session last week, making it the shortest one in more than a decade.

We'll have a complete wrap-up in next week's edition—but judging from what lawmakers accomplished, we're glad they quit when they did. Between the budget cuts, the loosening of gun regulations and weird bans on animal-human hybrids, we're pretty sure no good was going to come out of the session continuing.


Find early and late-breaking Skinny on The Range, our daily dispatch.

Follow the Skinny scribe on Twitter: @nintzel.

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