Arizona’s new abortion laws are blocked by federal courts … A new survey of the U.S. Senate race shows Democrat Richard Carmona in a dead heat with Republican Jeff Flake … The most-unwanted endorsement of 2012? … and so much more!

The Skinny 

INJUNCTION JUNCTION

While a whole bunch of new laws just went into effect (such as exempting ranch dogs from animal-cruelty laws), two new laws involving abortion have been put on hold by the courts.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put the brakes on new restrictions that would prevent abortions after 20 weeks (or even earlier, since the 20 weeks begin at the end of a woman's last menstrual cycle, making women in Arizona pregnant before conception).

The appeals court overruled U.S. District Judge James Teilborg, who had knocked down arguments by lawyers for the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union that the law was unconstitutional.

Briefs on the case are due in October, at which point we'll see what happens. This law, and similar laws in other states, are essentially a way for abortion foes to set up a chance for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Neil Wake halted a new state law that blocks Planned Parenthood from receiving federal dollars that pass through the state for health-care services other than abortion. Wake said his July 27 order would stand until he issues a ruling on an injunction sought by Planned Parenthood Arizona.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood Arizona argued that low-income women who depend on AHCCCS and other public programs to provide them with health-care coverage should not be stopped from choosing Planned Parenthood clinics for checkups, breast exams, cancer screenings and other health-related needs.

Planned Parenthood Arizona officials say that the organization has more than 66,000 patient visits a year, including about 3,000 visits from women using AHCCCS.

"This litigation is about more than the nearly 3,000 currently receiving care at our health centers," Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Bryan Howard told The Skinny last month. "It is wrong for the state to tell any Arizonan who they can and cannot go to for health care. ... Unfortunately, our governor and state lawmakers continue to put ideology first."


SURVEY SAYS

In addition to the Congressional District 2 poll mentioned in "Congressional Challenge" (to your left), there were two other big polls out last week.

The first showed Democrat Richard Carmona tied with likely GOP nominee Jeff Flake in this year's U.S. Senate race.

A survey by Public Policy Polling, commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters, shows that both candidates had the support of 38 percent of those polled.

The survey of 833 Arizona voters (with a margin of error of 3.5 percent) also shows that Mitt Romney is leading Barack Obama, 52 percent to 41 percent, among Arizona voters, which indicates to us that there are a lot of persuadable voters in the Senate race.

A May PPP poll showed Flake holding a 13-point lead, with the support of 48 percent of the voters. While Carmona has ticked up a little, Flake has lost some support, which suggests that all those ads by GOP primary opponent Wil Cardon are hurting Flake.

We'll see whether that sticks, but The Skinny senses a real race between Flake and Carmona.

The second poll of notice came from Republican Congressional District 1 candidate Jonathan Paton, who passed along a third-party survey by North Star Opinion Research showing that he's in a tight race with likely Democrat candidate Ann Kirkpatrick.

The survey of 400 likely voters (with a margin of error of 4.9 percent) showed Kirkpatrick leading Paton by just 3 percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent. Jennifer Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Kirkpatrick campaign, tried to throw some cold water on the poll, noting that a GOP strategist, Kurt Davis, questioned its accuracy in the Arizona Capitol Times' Yellow Sheet, which noted that the pollster did not release cross-tabs.

Paton lost an opponent in the GOP primary when Doug Wade, a Sedona contractor, dropped out of the race and threw his support to Gaither Martin, another Republican in the race.


THE MOST-UNWANTED ENDORSEMENT OF 2012?

Former state Rep. Daniel Patterson, a Democrat-turned-independent from Tucson who was forced out of the Legislature this year after allegations of wide-ranging ethics violations, released his "picks" for the primary election on his blog last week.

His recommendations included far-right-winger and state Sen. Ron Gould in Congressional District 4, as well as Patterson's former Democratic colleague, Rep. Matt Heinz, in Congressional District 2.

The list of recommendations came just two weeks before Patterson was due in court on several charges of domestic violence and of violating two different restraining orders against him.

Court documents obtained by the Weekly show that Patterson is facing criminal charges for allegedly violating restraining orders by both his ex-wife and Escobar.

"It was both of them, actually," said Tucson city prosecutor Baird Greene when The Skinny called him to clarify which woman Patterson allegedly had unwanted contact with. "Initially, he was accused of violating the (restraining) order in regards to Georgette Escobar, and the second instance ... that was concerning some contact with his ex-wife," Greene said.

The circumstances surrounding Patterson are not your typical day-in-court stuff.

After he was served with the restraining orders in March 2012, Patterson claimed he had legislative immunity from the restraining orders and continued to contact the women by phone, email and voicemail—at least nine times in one of the cases—according to court records.

Patterson's court date is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13. Each of the two counts of harassment for violating the restraining orders could carry a maximum of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine, as well as probation. The three counts of domestic violence could carry a maximum penalty of a combined 14 months in jail and a $4,000 fine, as well as probation.

The Skinny tried to contact Patterson and received a text message saying: "I'm a private citizen now, please respect my privacy."

Patterson suggested The Skinny contact his lawyer, Joe St. Louis, who did not return repeated phone calls.

Given Patterson's legal woes, it's not surprising that political campaigns want nothing to do with him.

In his bid to replace U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, Heinz didn't ask for Patterson's help, said Evan Hutchinson, Heinz's campaign manager.

"No, it's not something we pursued. What's that one who endorsed (congressional candidate Jesse) Kelly before? ALIPAC? At least it's not that," Hutchinson said, referring to that viral moment when Kelly refused to answer questions about his endorsement from the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, which has been denounced as having ties to white-supremacist groups.

"Patterson's free to support whoever he likes," Hutchinson said. "He's a former colleague (of Heinz), and that's it. That's our view of it. You know, what are you gonna do?"

Republican congressional candidate Gould didn't ask for Patterson's endorsement in the primary, either, and didn't want it, said his campaign manager, Patrick Gerhart.

"We've haven't had any contact with him at all," he said. "And I'm going to say we won't be putting that on our literature."

Rep. Katie Hobbs, a Phoenix Democrat who filed the ethics complaint that led to Patterson's forced resignation from the Legislature, said she wasn't surprised that Patterson recommended her opponent.

"Seriously, if he would have endorsed me, I would have probably called and asked him to take it down," she said.

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