I am always harping on Frank ignoring the House and Senate races and he challenged me to write up something on the House races the national media is ignoring due to the massive oxygen suck that is the Presidential race. You would think that the national media and pundits would just say, “Clinton is going to win the Presidency and now for something interest,” but you would be wrong. So for the next six months we are going to get one billion stories about how Clinton is not going to win, well maybe, but really, Trump is going to somehow pull it off because the national media is filled with overpaid addlepated… Okay, okay, I will stop.
First up on the list is my hometown Arizona 1. This is a seat currently held by Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. What is interesting about her is that she was one of the people to lose in the 2010 electoral bloodbath after she voted for the Affordable Care Act and had to endure the gauntlet of hate that most Democratic politicians had to deal with during the fight to get healthcare. She later fought her way back into Congress in 2012, one of the few to do so. She won re-election even though the district is rated as R-leaning. Now she has set her sights on McCain and because of the unique situation this year for Republicans, she is polling incredibly well against him.
I have no idea how that race will play out.
Ann Kirkpatrick Tries to Move Up Leaving Arizona 1 Open
So with Ann Kirkpatrick looking to move on up to the Senate, the House seat is open. That being the case, the usual cast of characters on the Republican side has shown up to run for the seat: Paul Babeu, Ken Bennett, David Gowan, Gary Kiehne, Wendy Rogers, Carlyle Begay, and Thomas Vearl Whipple.
All Those Republicans
Paul Babeu is a current Sheriff in Pinal County who was outed as gay during the 2012 congressional race by an ex-lover who happened to be here as an undocumented immigrant. I have met his brother but I haven’t met him since there has been little reason I would.
Ken Bennett is the former Secretary of State of Arizona (person in charge of elections and some of the paperwork for businesses among other things) and he ran for governor losing to Doug Doucey in the Republican primary. He is receiving some support from the NRCC Young Guns Program. Ironic since neither him nor Gary Kiehne are under 50.
Wendy Rogers is actually interesting from a personal aspect-she lived in my district and ran against my former State senator David Schipira. She then ran for Congress in 2012 and 2014, losing to Kyrsten Sinema the second time in what is billed by the political punditry/polling companies as a toss up seat but is really Democratic.
Carlyle Begay is the only other one of note in my opinion since he was appointed to office as a Democrat, won re-election then switched to being a Republican. Now he is running for Congress when people really don’t like party hoppers.
Gary Kiehne is getting national level support but he doesn’t have the history that Ken Bennett has.
I suspect it will be Ken Bennett who pulls off the win of the Republican primary. He doesn’t have as much money as some of the others (Gary Kiehne has the most) but he does have higher name ID for the district.
Of the three, only Maloney has not run for office in any capacity.
On the Democratic Side
Ann Kirkpatrick leaves the door open for Tom O’Halleran. He is very interesting because he was a Republican, then independent, and finally he has become a Democrat. He also has served in office before as a Republican so he knows how to campaign and he almost beat one of the Republicans that show up in the news periodically to make the rest of us living here in AZ cringe: Sylvia Allen. I also view O’Hallaran as serious since I am getting his fundraising email messages so he has bought some list I am on and he has the highest amount of the three. He also has a lot of support from the dreaded establishment including outgoing Kirkpatrick and the national Democratic Party.
I think he will probably win the primary.
The General Election
On to the General: it is unclear who will win if it is a Bennett v O’Hallaran match up. Both are experienced campaigners with long histories in most of the district. Which means what is going on at the top of the ticket might have an impact on it staying in the Democratic column.
On one hand, this isn’t as interesting since it won’t flip the House but on the other, with the mess at the top of the ticket, it is one of those races that it is likely to stay Dem instead of being flipped.
This election looks better for the Democrats in Arizona than I would have thought, with Ann Kirkpatrick having a real change in the Senate.
Next time we will look at AZ-02. That one is a pick up possibility.