Nick R. Martin

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Nick

If things went differently, Andrew Thomas might have had a bright career in Arizona politics.

In six years as the top prosecutor in Maricopa County, he stood side-by-side with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and earned a reputation as an aggressive and ambitious politician. A pair of conservative warriors in a Republican stronghold, the two teamed up to push for tougher treatment of illegal immigrants and to pursue what they saw as widespread corruption by local government officials.

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Scandal-plagued Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu opened a new 30-second ad this week to promote his run for Congress by acknowledging "a lot has been said about me lately."

It's about all the sheriff said about the problems that have rocked his career. The rest of the spot focused on the one-time rising Republican star's conservative credentials, from border security to tax cuts to his pro-life stance, with no mention of the various scandals.

Babeu and his Pinal County Sheriff's Office are the focus of three investigations, including one looking into allegations that he threatened to deport his immigrant ex-boyfriend if their relationship ever became public.

See the ad here:

(h/t @BrahmResnik)

Arizona state Rep. Daniel Patterson took to a Phoenix radio station on Wednesday night to defend his angry outbursts in the statehouse, which have reportedly made one of his colleagues so afraid of him that she has taken to sleeping with a weapon at her bedside.

Patterson, who left the Democratic Party this week to become an independent amid a barrage of ethics allegations against him, admitted to KFYI's Mike Broomhead that he gets pretty angry sometimes. But he insisted it's nothing his fellow lawmakers should fear.

"Voters have a right to decide if they want to elect somebody that represents them at the Capitol who may take a strong stance, who may be a little bit more aggressive," Patterson said. "And there's probably been a few times at the Capitol where maybe I've pushed it a little bit too hard. But simply having a strong approach is not unethical and it's not illegal and it's nothing I would ever resign for or should be expelled from the House for."

Patterson's response comes as the state House of Representatives considers throwing him out of office after an ethics report released this week detailed a number of major allegations, including that he once offered to trade his vote for sex with a lobbyist. TPM detailed many of those allegations in a story on Wednesday.

Listen to the whole interview below. Patterson defends his outbursts at the 10:25 mark.

The man accused of bombing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin said on Wednesday that he did it "because they're killing babies there."

Francis Grady, 50, spoke to reporters who were covering his first appearance in federal court since the Sunday night attack. The Green Bay Press-Gazette posted video of him walking through the courthouse followed by a short clip of him speaking to reporters outside.

"There was no bomb," Grady said. "It was gasoline."

A reporter asked why Grady attacked the clinic.

"Because they're killing babies there," he responded.

The newspaper also got more from inside the federal courtroom, where Grady reportedly interrupted the judge to ask, "“Do you even care at all about the 1,000 babies that died screaming?"

Grady was charged with two felonies in the attack. No one was hurt and there was only minor damage to the clinic.

Watch the video of Grady:

A man accused in the weekend bombing of a Planned Parenthood office in Wisconsin reportedly admitted "I lit up the clinic" after his arrest.

During his first appearance today in federal court, Francis Grady, 50, also asked if the federal judge overseeing his case knew "how many babies were being killed" at the clinic, according to a report from WLUK, the Fox affiliate in Green Bay.

Grady reportedly offered to plead guilty on the spot, but the judge scheduled a second hearing for April 19.

Grady was charged with two felonies related to the Sunday night bombing of the clinic in the town of Grand Chute. No one was hurt and the bomb only did a small amount of damage to the building.

If what his colleagues in the Arizona statehouse say is true, Rep. Daniel Patterson might be the most feared politician in the state.

But it's not his politics they say they fear. It's his angry, threat-filled outbursts that they say are becoming all too normal. One such outburst managed to rattle a fellow lawmaker enough that she says she now sleeps with a weapon at her bedside — just in case.

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A 50-year-old man with a long criminal record has been charged with two federal crimes in the weekend bombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin.

Francis Gerald Grady was charged on Tuesday with arson of a building used in interstate commerce and intentionally damaging a facility that provides reproductive health services, according to a news release from the FBI in Milwaukee.

No one was injured and only minor damage was done to the building in the Sunday night attack on the clinic in the town of Grand Chute, Wis.