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In Las Vegas — a city known for prize fights — the Democrats were gloves-off.

And there was a new entrant in the ring, who took a lot of incoming: Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spent more than $300 million of his own money on ads to raise his profile.

Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of assault.

In the summer of 2011, Lisa Ricchio received a call from a man she knew. He said he was in Massachusetts, in pain from a recent surgery, and needed help.

"I went down to meet him, and from there, that's where my nightmare kind of began," says Ricchio, who lived in Maine at the time.

Together, they checked into the Shangri-La Motel in Seekonk, Mass. Once they closed the door, he suddenly turned violent.

State and local governments spend billions of dollars hiring contractors for goods and services, but most of those contracts go to white-owned businesses, not minority contractors — despite decades of affirmative action and other policies meant to make up for disparities.

Two mornings a week, Arthur Jackson clears space on half of his cream-colored sofa. He sets out a few rolls of tape and some gauze, then waits for a knock on his front door.

"This is Brenda's desk," Jackson says with a chuckle.

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