Arizona Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick announced Friday that she won’t seek another term to her Tucson-area House seat, which Republicans are targeting.
“I will continue the good fight through this Congress, and when the term is up, I will hand over the baton,” she said in a statement.
Kirkpatrick, 70, who took a leave of absence last year to recover from alcohol dependency, told The Arizona Republic her health was not a factor in her decision.
“I’ve been in public service for 18 years and I’ve always been a proponent of term limits and ... I’m sort of term-limiting myself,” she told the paper, adding that she would also like to spend more time with her three grandchildren.
Kirkpatrick is currently in her second term representing Arizona’s 2nd District. She previously represented the largely rural 1st District for three nonconsecutive terms, before giving up the seat for an unsuccessful Senate run in 2016, losing to Republican John McCain. She also won two terms to the Arizona House in 2004 and 2006.
The 2nd District, which takes in rapidly growing suburban areas surrounding Tucson through sparsely populated land to the state’s southeast border with Mexico, has long been considered a swing seat. But it has moved to the left in recent presidential elections. Democrat Joe Biden beat Donald Trump there by by 11 points in November’s presidential election, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. Kirkpatrick won reelection last fall by a similar margin.
The district is one of two in Arizona that the House GOP campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee, put on its initial list of 2022 targets.
“Ann Kirkpatrick saw the writing on the wall: Democrats’ House majority is doomed,” NRCC spokeswoman Torunn Sinclair said in a statement. “We look forward to turning this seat red again because Arizonans deserve a congresswoman who represents them, not Nancy Pelosi and Democrats’ socialist agenda.”
But it is unclear how competitive the 2nd District will be since congressional lines will be redrawn before the midterm elections to reflect the 2020 census, the results of which have been delayed. Arizona’s congressional map is drawn by a bipartisan commission that the state’s Republican-controlled legislature has been working to eliminate.
Kirkpatrick, whose family has lived in Arizona for generations, has been known to work across the aisle with other home-state lawmakers, including McCain and Paul Gosar, who unseated her in the 1st District in 2010, on legislation to develop regional infrastructure and to support veterans and Native Americans. (Gosar now represents the more conservative 4th District.)
She has called her vote for the 2010 health care overhaul her “proudest vote in Congress.” She supports universal health care, expanding Medicare eligibility and creating a government insurance option for all Americans.