TUCSON, Ariz. — Former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick switched districts Friday as she entered a crowded Democratic primary race for the House seat held by two-term Republican Rep. Martha McSally in Arizona’s competitive 2nd Congressional District.
Kirkpatrick moved to Tucson from Flagstaff since not running for re-election for a fourth term in the 1st Congressional District and running unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate last year, losing to Republican John McCain.
The 2nd District includes part of the Tucson area as well as Cochise County in the state’s southeastern corner. The mostly rural 1st District includes Flagstaff, the Navajo Nation, most of Pinal County and a small part of metro Tucson.
Other Democratic candidates in the 2nd District include former state Reps. Bruce Wheeler and Matt Heinz, retired Pentagon official Mary Matiella, businessmen Charlie Verdin and Billy Kovacs, consultant William Foster and pilot Jeff Latas.
The Arizona Republican Party reacted to Kirkpatrick’s entry in the race by tweeting that Kirkpatrick was a carpetbagger. “Today’s #FridayFail goes to @Ann_Kirkpatrick because it doesn’t matter where she runs — she’s still going to lose,” the Twitter post said.
Kirkpatrick said in her candidacy announcement that she’s at home in Tucson, where she graduated from the University of Arizona and its law school and worked as a deputy Pima County attorney in the 1980s. She later practiced law in Flagstaff and represented a northern Arizona district in the state Legislature before being elected to Congress.
“She and her husband Roger live in Tucson, near their children and grandchildren,” the announcement stated.
The 2nd District is nearly even split in voter registration, with Democrats holding a 1,122-voter edge in registration. But McSally beat Heinz by nearly 44,000 votes in 2016 after defeating then-Democratic incumbent Ron Barber by just 161 votes in 2014.