Just weeks after jumping into the race, attorney and 2006 nominee Ellen Simon has dropped her bid for the Democratic nomination to the 1st district.
With the seat currently held by beleaguered Rep. Rick Renzi (R), the Democratic primary is attracting a high level of interest because Renzi is seen as extremely vulnerable in 2008 — if he doesn’t choose to retire and create an equally attractive open seat in the process.
“In recent weeks, I’ve decided to take on an important issue that is very close to my heart, an issue that, if I were to run, would undoubtedly compete for my attention,” Simon said in a statement.
Simon is launching a nonprofit organization designed to address deceitful advertising in political campaigns.
Renzi beat Simon in November by 8 points, but an FBI raid on a business owned by his wife last month led both Republicans and Democrats to question his political viability in 2008.
The competitive Northern Arizona 1st district leans Democratic, but Renzi has been successful in putting together a winning coalition since his first victory in 2002. However, Democrats feel their chances for flipping the seat are markedly improved now that Renzi is on the ethical hot seat.
Among the Democrats interested in running is Mary Kim Titla, a former television news reporter who announced her candidacy last week, according to Indian Country Today.
Several Republicans also are eyeing this seat, although they appear to be waiting to see what Renzi does before making their move.
— David M. Drucker