Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake has turned down the Star's invitation to debate Democrat Richard Carmona.

The Star proposed any of six dates in early October, with the debate to be co-sponsored by the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise and held at its Desert Diamond Casino just off I-19 between Tucson and Green Valley.

Both candidates confirmed that there's just one debate scheduled for the entire state: On Oct. 10 in the studio of a Phoenix TV station, without a live audience.

The debate will be on "Horizon," a public affairs show on KAET, the Public Broadcasting Service affiliate based at Arizona State University. It airs from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Judy Crawford, a spokeswoman for the station, said it is working to expand the debate to an hour and also to air it on KUAT in Tucson.

A spokesman for Flake, Andrew Wilder, said that campaign is working on a possible second debate, but nothing is confirmed. Carmona's spokesman, Andy Barr, said that camp has accepted eight or nine debate invitations.

Money flows to CD1, CD9

All you have to do is follow the money to figure out which Arizona U.S. House races are considered the closest matchups - Congressional District 1 and Congressional District 9.

Outside groups have already spent nearly $1 million on the CD1 race, with the dueling national party committees bankrolling competing TV ads backing Republican Jonathan Paton and Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent $480,300 through Friday to back Paton while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent $494,600 to support Kirkpatrick. CD1 covers almost half of Arizona, stretching from Marana, across the Apache and Navajo reservations to Flagstaff and farther west.

In CD9, which is located in the Phoenix area, the conservative American Future Fund PAC has spent $480,250 on TV, radio and social-media ads in opposition to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who is facing Republican Vernon Parker.

Don't be surprised.

Two websites that specialize in making predictions - Sabato's Crystal Ball and the Rothenberg Political Report - rank the CD 1 and CD 9 the most competitive among Arizona's nine districts.

The websites have both districts as "leaning" Democrat, which is one step away from being a tossup district. CD1 has about 6 percent more registered Democrats than Republicans. In CD9, Republicans actually have about 3 percent more registered voters than Democrats, but there are more independents voters than either party.

Nothing simple about city simplification

If brevity is the soul of wit, as Shakespeare wrote, the notion was clearly lost on the authors of the city's updated land-use code, rewritten about four years ago to make it more simple and user-friendly.

It began the process of cleaning up the language, eliminating redundancies and making the overall code a little more user-friendly.

The end result of all that cleaning up language and eliminating redundancies? A three-volume package totaling over 950 pages of rules and regulations with gems such as: "To further encourage use of the UDC and to implement a portion of the Transitional Regulations, a LUC text amendment is recommended to repeal the Design Development Option (DDO), Flexible Lot Development (FLD), and Parking Design Modification Request (PDMR) in the LUC upon the effective date of the UDC."

Yeah, that's simple and to the point.

That rustling sound you hear is the Bard rolling over in his grave.

Who are these guys?

Ever heard of Marc Victor? How about Kim Allen or Blanca Guerra?

They are the Libertarian candidates who make up the third wheel in three key Southern Arizona races. They may have no chance at victory, but you'll be hearing and seeing the names in the coming weeks.

Victor is on the ballot for U.S. Senate. He is a criminal-defense attorney in Chandler who says he's been an activist for "human freedom" since he was 15.

Allen is on the CD1 ballot. He's a retired construction company owner who calls both parties worthless and says it's time to "take back the political system which the writers of the Constitution envisioned."

Guerra is on the ballot in CD3. She's a self-employed small rancher who agrees with Allen that both political parties have gone astray and is running to take back the government.

A realistic goal for this trio? How about getting 5 percent of the vote? Just one of the nine Libertarians on the ballot for U.S. Senate or Congress in Arizona in 2010 surpassed that mark. Even with 6.5 percent of the vote, Nicole Patti finished third in the old CD1.

Star reporter Darren DaRonco contributed to his story.