Former 1st District US Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff) vacated her expansive eastern Arizona congressional district to unsuccessfully challenge Sen. John McCain (R) last year (losing 54-41%). Since the ex-Congresswoman and statewide candidate has now moved to Tucson, speculation surrounding her entering the congressional race against two-term Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) has reached a new high. Late last week, Ms. Kirkpatrick filed a congressional exploratory committee for the 2nd District, meaning that action is now accompanying what, heretofore, had only been conjecture.
Should Ms. Kirkpatrick run, she would first face a major Democratic primary. Already in the race are 2016 nominee Matt Heinz (lost 57-43%), former state Rep. Bruce Wheeler, and businessmen Billy Kovacs, Jeff Latas, and Charlie Verdin, in addition to retired Air Force Colonel Lou Jordan. Though Rep. McSally ran strong here last November the 2nd District is politically marginal and will result in a top tier Democratic challenge race next year.
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