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Arizona: State Speaker Weiers Eyes Shadegg’s Seat

State Speaker Jim Weiers (R) is considering running for the 3rd district seat being vacated by Rep. John Shadegg (R), and should come to a decision no later than the end of next week, according to a GOP source based in the Grand Canyon State.

Weiers, a businessman who lives in the Republican-leaning 3rd district, has been consulting with his advisers to determine whether to jump into what could be a crowded GOP primary.

Weiers has served as Speaker for five of the last seven years, with the two-year hiatus coming because he spent two years in the state Senate.

Other Republicans considering a bid for the seat include Shadegg Chief of Staff Sean Noble, state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring and state Treasurer Dean Martin. Also, Paradise Valley Mayor Ed Winkler has said he intends to run.

Attorney Bob Lord is running for the Democrats. He closed 2007 with a respectable $503,000 in cash on hand.

This week, Lord was endorsed by former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D) and the Democrats’ 2006 Senate nominee, Jim Pederson.

Konopnicki Reconsiders Bid for 1st District Seat

State Rep. Bill Konopnicki (R) is reconsidering an earlier decision to drop out of the race for the 1st district seat being vacated by Rep. Rick Renzi (R).

Konopnicki, a wealthy businessman who establishment Republicans had hoped to recruit into the race, confirmed in an e-mail exchange on Wednesday that he is once again giving the race a “serious look.”

“I have had a number of people ask me to reconsider running for the CD 1 seat,” Konopnicki said in the e-mail. “There are still a number of things I need to consider before making a decision.”

Konopnicki did not say when he might come to a decision.

Sydney Hay, an anti-tax activist who lost the 2002 GOP primary to Renzi, is the only high-profile Republican in the race thus far, although Preston Korn, a 2006 candidate for the state House of Representatives, is also running.

Former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is the frontrunner on the Democratic side, although she does have primary challengers.

The 1st district has more enrolled Democrats than Republicans, but the conservative nature of the seat means it is politically competitive and in some cases could be considered GOP-leaning. The Democrats have labeled flipping the 1st district as one of their top priorities of the cycle.
— David M. Drucker

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