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Kelly could run in his wife’s former district, the 2nd, if the current occupant retires, although he has not expressed any public interest yet. Rep. Ron Barber, 67, served as a top aide to Giffords before he was shot twice in the same supermarket massacre.
Democrats were shocked by Barber’s razor-thin victory last year, and now they’re worried that retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally will beat him if she runs again. National Republicans rave about McSally, who has made frequent, high-profile visits to Washington since her defeat.
Should Barber lose or retire, there are a couple of possible future Democratic contenders, aside from Kelly.
The list includes businesswoman Nan Stockholm Walden, a staffer to former Sens. Bill Bradley and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Another Democrat, state Sen. Steve Farley, previously eyed the seat.
The field is much more clear in the 7th District, a safe Democratic seat that Rep. Ed Pastor has represented for 11 terms. Democrats widely consider assistant state House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego to be Pastor’s heir apparent whenever the congressman chooses to retire.
Republican state Rep. Adam Kwasman is being pushed as a potential challenger to Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. Democrats have pitched Kirkpatrick as a viable candidate for governor, but there is little evidence she is exploring a run for that office.
Without a Senate race in 2014, the looming gubernatorial race has taken over as the state’s political focus. Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has not yet announced whether she will seek re-election. It’s not even clear yet whether she is eligible to run under state law.
The top Democratic contender is former Surgeon General Richard Carmona. Democrats hold out hope he’ll make another statewide run after his competitive, but ultimately unsuccessful, bid against now-Sen. Jeff Flake last fall.
“I don’t think we’ve heard the last from him,” his former spokesman Andy Barr said.
Farm Team is a state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress. The column runs on Thursdays.