Democratic Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema has not even been sworn in, and Arizona Republicans are already abuzz about candidates preparing to take her on in 2014.
Two contenders who sought the GOP nomination in Arizona’s 9th District earlier this year confirmed to CQ Roll Call that they are seriously considering running for the nomination to challenge Sinema. They are businessman Martin Sepulveda and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers.
Sepulveda said that if he won the nomination, he would run as the “polar opposite” to Sinema on the size of government, military issues and values. He also placed a heavy emphasis on tying her to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The 2012 GOP primary for the seat was late forming and highly disorganized. That is why many Republicans say that with an earlier start, the party has a real shot at winning the seat. But on the other hand, Sinema will now have the benefits of incumbency, and the tossup district is expected to trend Democratic in the future. Sinema carried the district by 3 points in November.
Former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker was the eventual GOP nominee whom Sinema defeated. Rogers and Sepulveda each pulled in about 20 percent of the primary vote, finishing just behind Parker.