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Nation's top Republican governors descending on Valley

PHOENIX -- A large group of Republican governors will attend a several-day conference at the Phoenician this week.

The Republican Governors Association conference continues through Friday and includes a who's who of potential candidates in the 2016 presidential race, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Valley political analyst Stan Barnes said the governors will be talking about the GOP's message for next year's midterm elections and beyond. The conference comes at a good time for the party.

"The Republican brand is having a resurgence given the troubles the Obama administration had with the rollout of Obamacare," he said. "It's Republican governors who create the momentum nationally for the GOP brand."

Issues that will be addressed by the group include healthcare, energy, the economy and immigration reform.

Unlike the battles between moderate Republicans and their Tea Party colleagues, Barnes said the conference is not expected to offer a lot of fireworks.

"These governors have to balance competing factions within the party and governors do a better job with that than many other elected officials," he said. "They can appeal to a broader range of voters. Republicans can't continue doing what they've been doing (infighting) only to lose another presidential election."

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About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.


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