Kirkpatrick’s exit will spark an open seat race in a district in southern Arizona that, in its current form, started the decade as a competitive turf but is now pretty blue. The 2nd district, the encompasses about 60% of Tucson’s Pima County and all of the conservative Cochise County to the east, supports Mitt Romney 50-48 2012 and held incredibly tight house races that year and 2014.
Hillary Clinton held the 50-44 seat in 2016, but Republican Martha McSally, who had narrowly prevailed two years earlier, was crucially re-elected this year. Kirkpatrick The 2nd turned convincingly in 2018 However, when McSally left to run for the Senate, she had little trouble keeping him in 2020 when Joe Biden celebrated a 55:44 win here.
However, redistribution is a particularly unpredictable proposition in Arizona, and no one knows what that constituency will look like next year. The Grand Canyon Congress and Legislative Maps are made by a non-partisan commission, but Republicans went out of their way to remove them.
In 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the panel’s constitutionality by just a 5 to 4 margin, and since then the court has moved to the right. If the commission is crushed, the Republican-controlled state government would control the card-making process, and they would likely do whatever it takes to make the 2nd district red lawn again.
Kirkpatrick’s departure will also end a long career in state politics that includes three non-consecutive stops in Congress, including two different Congressional districts under the current map. Kirkpatrick, the grew up on the White Mountain Apache Nation reservationThe Apache-speaking Kirkpatrick, who is white, walked on a seat in northern Arizona that had long been represented by Native Americans and had prevailed despite initial skepticism about their prospects.
Kirkpatrick was soon seeking a promotion in 2007 when Rep. Rick Renzi, a Republican who would be charged with public corruption months later, announced so withdraw from the sprawling 1st congressional district in the northern part of the state. The 1st had supported George W. Bush 54-46 in 2004but Republicans struggled to recruit a strong candidate in a year that quickly turned into an ugly year for the party.
Eventual GOP nominee, Sydney Hay, president of the Arizona Mining Association, had a tough record that made her unattractive to many swing voters, and she achieved a nondescript primary win even when Kirkpatrick was instrumental in her party’s nomination. National Republicans left Hayes to her fate in September and Kirkpatrick won 56-39 even as home state Senator John McCain wore the 1st. with a margin of 54-44.
Kirkpatrick faced a much more difficult campaign two years later in an ugly political climate. Dentist Paul Gosar, a tea partner who had not yet become the nationally infamous figure he is now, defeated Hayes in the 2010 primary and focused its general election campaign on health care and immigration. This time outside of groups on both The teams spent a lot of money throughout the race, but Gosar unoccupied Kirkpatrick 50-44.
Kirkpatrick’s absence from Congress would be brief, however. The state’s independent redistribution commission has drawn up a new 1st district, the at 51-48 McCainwas significantly less conservative than the seat Kirkpatrick had just lost. Gosar opted for the safe red 4th district, while Kirkpatrick fought in the open 1st against former Republican Senator Jonathan Paton. This was another very competitive campaign, but Kirkpatrick benefiting from their long ties to Native American communities on a seat that it was more than 20% Native Americans, won 49-45 like Romney was Taking the district 50-48.
Kirkpatrick would have to defend again in 2014 amid yet another GOP wave year, but things went very differently for them than 2010. National Republicans reckoned State House spokesman Andy Tobin would be tough candidate, but he did The elementary school only just won at the end of August after a competition that exhausted its already meager resources.
Kirkpatrick, meanwhile, ran a strong race where she once did again mobilized Indian voters: The Congresswoman benefited from the turnout sparked by a race for President of the Navajo Nation, and Kirkpatrick himself also took an ad in Navajo. Kirkpatrick ended with 53-47, and she was one of only five Democrats Left on a Romney seat to the left after the dust settled from the rough cycle.
Kirkpatrick’s win in adverse conditions for her party made her a sought-after Senate candidate, and the Democrats were delighted when she launched her campaign against McCain in 2016. While Team Blue was hoping McCain might lose to a major far right enemy, but that race became less attractive after winning the renomination against Senator Kelli Ward. Prominent external organizations on both sides largely aligned their resources to other competitionsand McCain beat Kirkpatrick 54-41 when Donald Trump prevailed 48-45.
Kirkpatrick’s Congressional career seemed to be over, especially since Democratic compatriot Tom O’Halleran won in the 1st District, but she did soon started talking about it Challenge the Republican incumbent Martha McSally in the neighboring 2nd District. Kirkpatrick, who said she was in 2017 Family moves to Tucsonreceived public encouragement from her former MP Ron Barber, who lost to McSally in 2014 started their offer in July. However, she didn’t get a chance to run against McSally when the Congresswoman decided to launch an ultimately unsuccessful Senate campaign the next year.
Both parties initially viewed the 2nd as a big battlefield, but this time Kirkpatrick had to endure a crowded elementary school. Their main antagonist was the party’s 2016 candidate, former MP Matt Heinz, who portrayed Kirkpatrick as an outsider and made bad headlines when he even compared her to a meth addict.
Kirkpatrick won the ugly race 42-30, but it was easier for her in the general election. National Republicans had touted Lea Marquez Peterson, her future candidate, but she eventually won her own elementary school with an inconspicuous 34% of the vote against weak opposition. GOP groups initially sent complaints against Kirkpatrick tried the race in mid-October when the political climate worsened for her and Kirkpatrick won her new seat 55-45.
In 2020, for once, Kirkpatrick did not face any serious opposition. The Congresswoman took six weeks of vacation from Congress in the winter of 2020 treated for alcoholism, but she made it clear that she would continue to run for re-election. Kirkpatrick won her final term with the same 55-45 margin as she earned two years ago.