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State Senator Considering Run for Arizona Open House Seat

Kirkpatrick is vacating her House seat to run for the Senate. (File Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Kirkpatrick is vacating her House seat to run for the Senate. (File Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona State Sen. Barbara McGuire, a Democrat, said Monday she is considering a run for the Democratic nomination in the state’s 1st Congressional District.

In a statement, McGuire stopped short of declaring her candidacy. Instead, she said she plans to “take the next few weeks to discuss the possibility” with people she knows and her constituents.

“The residents of rural Arizona deserve a representative who understands the unique needs of our communities. They deserve someone who will fight every day to create jobs and uphold their values,” she said.

McGuire’s first public flirtation with a run came just hours after the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s congressional map, settling what could have been an uncertain political environment.

The case was centered around a 2000 ballot initiative passed by Arizona voters that put the power of redistricting into the hands of an independent commission to prevent whichever party controlled the Legislature from drawing district lines to give themselves an advantage.

If the Supreme Court had struck down the map, the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature could likely have redrawn it — a scenario by which many Democrats believed districts could have swayed the districts from being competitive to leaning Republican.

McGuire said in an email Monday evening that she has been talking with voters about a potential run since Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s announcement that she will run for U.S. Senate against Republican John McCain earlier this month. Still, she praised the Court’s ruling, which Democrats believe could help them in their effort to hold on to the seat.

“Like many Arizonans, I was anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court decision which has brought clarity to what districts will be used for the 2016 election. The ruling was a win for Arizona voters, who made it clear that they did not want self-interested politicians to draw legislative or congressional maps,” she said.

The race for the Arizona’s 1st Congressional District is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg-Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call: In the same year Kirkpatrick won the race with less than 49 percent, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won her district with just 50 percent of the vote.

On the Republican side, Gary Kiehne — a rancher and businessman who nearly beat former Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin in the 2012 primary for the same nomination — has already declared his candidacy. Tobin, as well as state Sen. Steve Pierce and former U.S. Army intelligence officer Jonathan Paton, are all mulling their own campaigns.


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