Welcome to the 2012 Senate race. Sen. Jon Kyl's announcement last week he won't seek a fourth term means the race suddenly kicked off an open-seat free-for-all. While there's plenty of time for official paperwork, the prospective matchups are starting to look like a Celebrity Fight Club playbill, Arizona-style.
Some immediately ruled out a bid. Freshman U.S. Rep. David Schweikert: "It took me long enough to figure out where the bathrooms were in the House. I have a lot of unfinished work to do here."
One thing we know for sure - and trust us, it's a reality that has left us suffering a bit - is that Meghan McCain and Bristol Palin won't be in the mix.
" 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished," as some other hack writer once noted. But alas, they'll turn 28 and 22 respectively, in 2012, meaning neither hits the 30-year mark necessary for a shot at the upper chamber.
It could still happen someday. After all, the political-offspring thing worked for Ben Quayle.
The National Kidney Foundation of Arizona has recruited a couple of state GOP pols to serve as "celebrity dancers" in their "Dancing with the Stars" fundraiser later this month.
State Sen. Scott Bundgaard, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, is one of them - apparently because the state has a dearth of celebrities and because Joe Arpaio isn't much of a dancer.
Bundgaard, who is dancing the rumba, will be joined by Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce - although Pierce will be dancing with his wife, Sherry, and not Bundgaard, just to be clear.
Bundgaard says his costume will be pirate-ish, although he won't say if satin and ruffles will be involved. If you can't bear to miss that, get a ticket at www.azkidney.org.
The senator said he wants to win by raising at least $25,000 to counter kidney disease. He's at only $7,000 now, so he said he welcomes people with poor judgment, and is also encouraging people to buy votes.
His training in the Legislature should help in both areas.
His dance training, on the other hand, is nonexistent, other than the usual political dancing around the issues kind of thing. "It's like the state budget," he quips. "It's got nowhere to go but up."
very Early sex ed
Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford of Tucson's District 27 is sponsoring a bill to beef up sex-ed in Arizona schools to ensure it is "medically accurate" and available in all school districts.
As written, her SB 1457 would make schools teach kids in kindergarten to 12th grade about sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS.
That prompted a double-take. Teaching kindergartners about STDs? That's about the age they're learning the difference between capital and lowercase letters, numbers and the days of the week. Sounds a bit like STDs will be worked in with ABCs.
Cajero Bedford allowed as to how that probably is a little young to start that type of education, and hopes to amend that section of the bill for that particular chapter to start in junior high. That's simply how the bill was written when she signed on as a sponsor, which she did because she said she strongly supports the medically-accurate-education components.
We can only imagine the "What did you do in school today?" conversations.
The White House has been having a bit of fun with photos in the past few weeks.
From time to time it has been posting photos on Twitter and asking people (read: Washington insiders or wonky types with little social life) to name the figures (read: innocuous people dressed in largely identical suits) who are in the photo with President Obama.
Last week, Obama was walking to a speech a block away from the White House with a trio who turned out to be White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, chief of staff Bill Daley and treasury counselor Gene Sperling. Not exactly the ever-recognizable Veep Joe Biden, or oft-televised Janet Napolitano and Hillary Clinton.
The advertised prize for naming Obama's company?
"Joy." But with the national debt as big as it is, that's probably all they can afford.
Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4243. Contact reporter Andrea Kelly at email@example.com or 807-7790.