Sunday, March 04, 2012

Quick update on Congressional races

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive listing of candidates, nor will there be any predictions.  It's too early for the first, and I've got a poor track record on the second.


In the most interesting races, in the new CD9 (Tempe, South Scottsdale, parts of east and central Phoenix)...

- On the Democratic side, David Schapira, the Democratic leader in the Arizona Senate, Kyrsten Sinema, former state legislator, and Andrei Cherny, former chair of the Arizona Democratic Party are all in the race.  Schapira is still the only one who lives in the district, but other than that all are veteran campaigners and the race should be an interesting one.  Sorry, but I have no better insight than that.  So far... :))

Full disclosure time:  I'm supporting David Schapira in the primary.  While I personally like Kyrsten Sinema and Andrei Cherny, I believe that David is the best choice for the district.  Having said that, I'll have no trouble supporting Sinema or Cherny in the general election in the event that one of them wins the nomination.

- On the Republican side, Don Stapley, Maricopa County Supervisor, and Martin Sepulveda, former Chandler City Council member, are the big names so far.  However, there are rumors still circulating that Hugh Hallman, outgoing mayor of Tempe, and/or Sal DiCiccio, member of the Phoenix City Council may yet enter the race on that side. 

In the next most interesting race (to me, anyway.  I'm sure the folks in Tucson find it far more interesting than a race in Maricopa County. :) ) ...

- On the Democratic side in CD2 (Tucson), state legislators Steve Farley, Paula Aboud, and Matt Heinz, as well as Nan Walden, a former Congressional staffer (among many other things) and newcomer Nomiki Konst, are in the race (though not all have paperwork available on the FEC's website).  As with CD9, it's too early to tell how this one will work out.

- On the Republican side, Frank Antenori, currently in the AZ state senate, Jesse Kelly, a 2010 candidate for Congress, and Dave Sitton, best known as a radio broadcaster, are in the race.  As with the CD2 Ds, it's too soon to tell how this one will work out, and as with the CD9 Rs above, others may yet jump into the race.

Next up: CD1 (a very rural district that encompasses most of Northern AZ).

- On the Democratic side, the race (so far) is between Wenona Benally Baldenegro, a newcomer, and Ann Kirkpatrick, a former member of Congress.  Kirkpatrick is getting a lot of support from the Democratic establishment, and Baldenegro is garnering a lot of grassroots support.  Kirkpatrick is winning the money race, with her having approximately $465K cash on hand versus Baldenegro's ~$6400 (per their most recent campaign finance filings).

- On the Republican side, the cupboard is almost bare right now since the Republican incumbent Paul Gosar has chosen to go after a safe R district rather than this slightly D leaning competitive one.  One Douglas Wade of Sedona has filed for a run here.  Former state legislator Bill Konopnicki is among the Rs rumored to be eyeing this seat.

After the above districts, the interesting races are confined to the Republican side of the ballot, since the districts involved are safe Republican districts.

- In CD4 (a wide ranging, mostly rural district that includes Yuma and Pinal County), the race is between Paul Gosar, current member of Congress, Ron Gould, current AZ state senator, and Paul Babeu, current Pinal County Sheriff.  Babeu's candidacy is on its last legs since the stories broke, stories about him being gay and the fact that the school he used to run in Massachusetts was closed due to allegations of abuse under his watch.  Gould's candidacy is too new for there to be any campaign finance filings, however, Gosar reported $256K cash on hand in his most recent FEC filing.

- In CD6 (North Scottsdale and NE Maricopa County), freshman incumbents Ben Quayle and David Schweikert are facing off in what is shaping up to be the most contentious race.  They're already taking potshots at each other.  I said I wouldn't make any predictions, but I'll make one here:  this one will easily be the most entertaining race in Arizona this year.

Note:  In CD6, one Matthew Jette has filed to run as a Democrat.  His filing indicates CD6, which under the new maps will cover most of Scottsdale, but his address is in Chandler, which is (mostly) in the current CD6.  Either way, it will be a tough race for any D.  In 2010, Jette ran for governor as a Republican.  I don't know what kind of Democrat Jette is/will be, but based on his performance at a Republican forum in Tempe in 2010 held before Jan Brewer signed SB1070 and hitched her political future to the nativist train, he's intelligent and thoughtful and doesn't stand a snowball's chance of going anywhere in R circles.

- In CD5 (southeastern part of Maricopa County), the race is between Kirk Adams, former speaker of the Arizona House, and Matt Salmon, former member of Congress.  Right now, the campaigns are in the "trolling for campaign contributions and endorsements" period, and Salmon appears to winning on both counts.  However, both candidates are trying to claim the same turf within the GOP (pro-Big Business/Big Money) so this race could be very close.

The other races involve safe incumbents (Ds Ed Pastor and Raul Grijalva, and R Trent Franks).  If any of those races becomes something other than automatic for the incumbents, I'll update...

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