Arizona's Political Races
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 11:36


Arizona's Politial Races: A Guide For Your Credit Union

Last month, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission approved a draft version for the new 2012 U.S. congressional lines in Arizona. As you know, new congressional lines are determined every 10 years based upon the United States Census.  Beginning in 2012, Arizona will also gain an additional congressional district (9 in total) as a result of population growth. Although the district map that was released is not final, the draft version will likely only face minor changes from here on out.

According to “The Cook Report” the recommendations by the commission would set the stage for 4 relatively safe Republican districts, 3 relatively safe Democratic Districts and 2 toss up districts. Here is a breakdown of how each district could shake out.  

For a full breakdown of Arizona’s nine Congressional districts

AZ-01 is currently held by freshman lawmaker Dr. Paul Gosar (R), who defeated Ann Kirkpatrick (D) during the 2010 election. The district has always been considered competitive, and the new map would make it even more of a tossup. As a result, democrats see this as a high possible pick up for them in 2012, especially with Kirkpatrick looking to regain her seat. 

AZ-02 is currently held by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D). The new lines would give an edge to the democrats, but maintains a level of competitiveness for a possible Republican victory.  However, any potential challengers for the seat will wait to see if Giffords decides to run reelection.  Most likely, Democrats or Republicans will not challenge her if she does decide to run in 2012.

AZ-03 is currently held by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D). The new map would maintain an extremely safe democratic district for the Congressman. Grijalva is a strong friend of credit unions, that has cosponsored every credit union MBL piece of legislation.

AZ-04 would be a heavily Republican district with no incumbent.  The conservative district is currently shared by Trent Franks (R), and Paul Gosar (R).  Potential candidates could include Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, state Senator Ron Gould, or even Paul Gosar who may move into the district to represent a more conservative seat. 

AZ-05 is another open seat that encompasses much of the district that will be vacated by Rep. Jeff Flake (R), who is running for a U.S. Senate seat.  The district will remain a safe Republican district, but the 2012 primary is shaping up as one of the closest in the state.   The lines would pin former AZ Speaker of the House Kirk Adams against former Congressman Matt Salmon.  Adams who has the backing of Sen. Jon Kyl, was the Arizona Credit Union League’s Legislator of the Year in 2008.  Salmon is backed by Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio.

AZ-06 would generate one of the more unique situations for the Congressional lines.  The district is considered safe Republican, but would likely pin freshman representatives, Ben Quayle (R) and David Schweikert (R) against each other in a primary showdown.  Also, neither of the incumbent Congressmen currently live in the district.  However, it is likely that the lines will be revised to include Quayle’s house, while Schweikert has already announced his intention to run for the district and has even bought a house in anticipation of the new congressional map.    

AZ-07 is the district that is currently held by Congressman Ed Pastor (D).  It is the district that would be changed the least, and remains the safest Democratic district in Arizona.  

AZ-08 is the district that is currently represented by Congressman Trent Franks (R).  As a result of the population growth in his current district, much of his district was shed off to others.  Despite the geographical shrinking, Frank’s district would remain among the most conservative in the state. 

AZ-09 would be a new district and possibly the most competitive districts in the state.  Former Congressman Harry Mitchell (D) would be seen a frontrunner if he decided to return to politics.  Other Democrats that are mulling a bid would be state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and attorney Jon Hulburd.   On the Republican side, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman would be seen as a top contender to appeal to this moderate new district. 

No matter the final outcome, redistricting will certainly reshape the political landscape in Arizona’s Congressional races (not to mention the 30 legislative districts that are also getting redrawn).   However, the other wildcard in 2012 is the open Senate seat that will be vacated by U.S. Senator Jon Kyl.   

The Arizona Senate race will be the first open seat in Arizona for an US Senate in 18 years.   Despite the high profile seat, only 3 candidates stand out as potential contenders for the seat.  As it stands now, Republican Congressman Jeff Flake is considered the front runner in the race.  The biggest challenge for Flake could be Wil Cardon, a political newcomer with deep pockets as an investment banker.  Other potential contenders that have yet to make a decision include: Sheriff Joe Arpio and former AZ Attorney General Grant Woods.  The former Democratic Party Chairman Don Bivens is the lone Democratic to announce his candidacy. However, former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona has been courted by President Obama to run for the seat.  Other potential democrats could
include Representatives Ed Pastor and Gabrielle Giffords.

Provided by: Austin De Bey, VP of Legislative Affairs