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Early, Long Whip Race Will Test GOP Cohesion

File Photo
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will not endorse in the Minority Whip race between GOP Sens. John Cornyn (second from left) and Lamar Alexander (right).

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, former Arizona governor and state attorney general, has made calls over the past few weeks to gauge support for a Senate bid. She could emerge as the early frontrunner. Wealthy businessman Jim Pederson, who challenged Kyl in 2006, isn’t saying no, and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon could run. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — currently recovering from an attempted assassination — could enter the race as late as April 2012 and still raise enough money to be competitive.

Democrats in the state have told reporters that Giffords should have the “right of first refusal” to run for the seat.

“Things are moving fast,” the Arizona Republican strategist said.

Roll Call Politics rates this race Leans Republican.

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