Newspaper article Roll Call

Kirkpatrick to Challenge McCain in Arizona

Newspaper article Roll Call

Kirkpatrick to Challenge McCain in Arizona

Article excerpt

Updated, 2:05 p.m. | Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick will challenge Republican Sen. John McCain, according to a source with knowledge of Kirkpatrick's plans, giving Democrats a top recruit and a potential pickup opportunity.

Kirkpatrick made calls Monday to inform people of her plans, the source told CQ Roll Call. Her bid also opens up Arizona's 1st District, a GOP-leaning seat spanning the northeast quadrant of the state.

An hour after this story was published, Kirkpatrick sent out an email making it official. "I love this state, and I've worked hard all my life to put Arizona first," she said in a video. "From the timber towns of the White Mountains to the tech hubs of Phoenix and Tucson, we are working to build a strong, diverse economy. I'm fighting for Arizona every single day, and I'd be humbled to represent our state in the United States Senate."

She touted her service on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and work on a project she described as aimed at wildfire prevention and job creation in Arizona.

In the Senate contest, McCain, 78, is the heavy front-runner in his quest for a sixth term. But he faces a potentially strong challenge from the right flank of his party that could imperil his re-election bid, which had been rated a Republican Favored contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. The rating changed Tuesday to Leans Republican.

Kirkpatrick, 65, won re-election last fall in this district against all odds, defying a GOP wave that felled fellow moderate House Democrats. She has strong ties to the district's Native American population, which made her uniquely able to carry the seat.

A case is also currently pending with the Supreme Court, which heard arguments earlier this year on whether the state's congressional district lines -- drawn by an independent redistricting commission --are unconstitutional. If the court throws out the current congressional map, Arizona's districts are almost certain to become more favorable to Republicans, imperiling members such as Kirkpatrick. …

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