Arizona: Democrat Quits State House to Take On Renzi
State Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has become the latest Grand Canyon State Democrat who hopes to capitalize on Republican Rep. Rick Renzi’s woes, announcing this week that she is running for Congress in the 1st district.
Because of Arizona’s resign-to-run law, Kirkpatrick resigned her position as state Representative on Tuesday, the same day she announced for Congress.
“Corruption and dishonesty have plagued this district and have undermined our confidence in our federal government. The people of rural Arizona deserve to have a leader in Washington that they can trust,” Kirkpatrick said in a statement.
Renzi, the subject of two Justice Department investigations, has seen his political viability hobbled in recent months, especially following an FBI raid of an Arizona business that is connected to his family. He has remained mum on his political future since the FBI raid.
Renzi raised just $41,664 in the second quarter, closing the period with a paltry $20,400 in cash on hand — and both Republicans and Democrats are eying his rural Arizona seat. Though no Republican has announced for the seat as of yet, several are known to be considering a run, even if Renzi decides to run for re-election.
Among Democratic primary candidates who already have announced, Kirkpatrick joins former television reporter Mary Kim Titla and attorney Howard Shanker.
— David M. Drucker
Doolittle Gets His First GOP Challenger
Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes announced this week he is running for Congress in the 4th district — presenting Rep. John Doolittle with his first Republican primary challenger.
Holmes ran against Doolittle in the 2006 GOP primary and was crushed by the incumbent by a 2-1 margin.
However, Doolittle’s political position has weakened severely since he narrowly won re-election in the fall, and Holmes probably is not the only Republican who will end up challenging the Congressman if he runs again in 2008.
Doolittle, whose Virginia home was raided by the FBI in April as part of a Justice Department investigation, raised just $100,183 in the second quarter, to close the period with only $74,383 in cash on hand.
“Without an ethically sound Republican running in 2008, John Doolittle’s flagrant behavior places the 4th Congressional District within Democrats’ reach,” Holmes said in a prepared statement, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Republicans known to be considering a run against Doolittle include Air Force Reservist Eric Egland, state Assemblyman Ted Gaines, former state Sen. Rico Oller and radio talk-show host Tom Sullivan. The 4th district is solid Republican territory, and political observers say the only way the GOP can lose the district is if Doolittle is the party’s nominee.
Charlie Brown (D), who lost to Doolittle last year by just three points, already has announced his 2008 candidacy.
Adler Seeks Second Shot Against Rep. Saxton
State Sen. John Adler (D) met with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last month to discuss running against Rep. Jim Saxton (R) in the 3rd district.
The DCCC believes Saxton is vulnerable against a credible, well-funded challenger, arguing that recent local elections and demographic changes in the southwestern New Jersey seat have been favoring the Democratic Party.
“When Congressman Saxton fell in lock step with his party and out of step with his district, his seat became up for grabs,” DCCC spokeswoman Carrie James said.
Despite last year’s blue wave that swept the Democrats into power on Capitol Hill, Saxton handily defeated his Democratic challenger, beating Rich Sexton 58 percent to 41 percent. Saxton, an ardent environmentalist, was endorsed by the Sierra Club for the fourth consecutive election.
Republicans, noting that Saxton beat Adler once before, downplayed the DCCC’s claims of the Congressman’s vulnerability as pure hype. Saxton beat Adler by 19 points back in 1990.
“He has won every election with overwhelming margins and will have every resource he needs to run another successful campaign,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Julie Shutley said.
Finegold Puts Up Ad for Meehan Seat
State Rep. Barry Finegold (D) began airing his first TV ad in the race to replace Rep. Marty Meehan (D) on Wednesday.
One of five Democrats vying in the Sept. 4 5th district primary, Finegold jumped out of the gate with a lighthearted 30-second spot.
In the commercial produced by Washington, D.C.-based media firm Strother-Duffy-Strother, people cross the screen and simultaneously tell a fictitious lawmaker to end the Iraq War, among other things.
Standing in the foreground, Finegold says: “Politicians — they just keep dancing to their own tune” while a man in a suit exaggeratedly dances behind Finegold.
“They just don’t listen,” he says, ticking off the war, the environment and health care as issues Congress promised to address but hasn’t.
In terms of fundraising, Niki Tsongas (D), wife of the late Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), leads the pack of nine candidates hoping to win the Oct. 16 special election.
She ended the second quarter with more than $560,000 in the bank.
Finegold was not far behind. He had $450,000 in his war chest as of July 1.
Two Republicans and two Independents round out the field, but the winner of the Democratic primary is the prohibitive favorite to complete Meehan’s eighth term.
Meehan left the House on July 1 to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts- Lowell.
— Nicole Duran