Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff), who gave up her 1st District House seat to unsuccessfully challenge Sen. John McCain (R) last year, announced that she will enter the crowded Democratic primary for a chance to oppose two-term Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) in the southeast Arizona congressional district. The move had been anticipated when Ms. Kirkpatrick re-located from Flagstaff to Tucson. Returning to the 1st District was not an option for her because fellow Democrat Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) succeeded her.
Ms. Kirkpatrick is no sure winner in the 2018 Democratic primary, however. Already in the race is 2016 nominee Matt Heinz, a former state Representative, ex-state Rep. Bruce Wheeler (D-Tucson), businessmen Billy Kovacs, Charlie Verdin, and Jeff Latas, former Assistant Army Secretary Mary Matiella, and retired Air Force Colonel Lou Jordan. For her part, Rep. McSally already has almost $1 million cash-on-hand.
The Arizona primary is held in late August, so the eventual Democratic nominee will clearly start in a difficult position against Ms. McSally who romped to a 57-43% victory over Heinz last November overcoming Hillary Clinton carrying the 2nd District, 50-45%, over President Trump.
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