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“The people of Arizona’s First Congressional District deserve to be represented by someone who puts them first and is free of criminal and ethical scandal,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said.
Smelling blood, several Democrats already were positioning themselves to seek their party’s nomination in the 1st district. With Renzi making his long-rumored retirement announcement official, Republicans also are expected to get into the act.
On the Republican side, several individuals are examining a run, including former state Senate President Ken Bennett; anti-tax activist and 2002 candidate Sydney Hay; state Rep. Bill Konopnicki; state Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes; state Sen. Tom O'Halleran; rancher and GOP activist Steve Pierce; and former Navajo County Supervisor Lewis Tenney.
Bennett, Hay and Pierce are mentioned as potential frontrunners.
Mayes is a former Democrat and worked in the administration of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) before being appointed by her ex-boss to serve on the state Corporation Commission.
Among Democrats, there already are three announced candidates, including former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who per Arizona law recently resigned her legislative seat to run for Congress; former television reporter Mary Kim Titla; and attorney Howard Shanker.
Additional Democrats rumored to be exploring a bid include attorney Jim Ledbetter; Casa Grande Mayor Bob Mitchell, who is the brother of Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.); state Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens; state Rep Pete Rios; state Sen. Rebecca Rios; and 2002 candidate Fred DuVal.
Regardless of who secures the Democratic nomination next year, party officials are optimistic that things will go their way.
“We’re confident that a Democrat will be representing the constituents of the 1st Congressional district come the election,” Arizona Democratic Party spokeswoman Emily Bittner said.