Arizona Seat Less Safe for GOP

Posted January 16, 2010 at 2:26am

Now that Rep. John Shadegg is retiring, the financial head start of the Democrats’ candidate means the Republicans can’t run on cruise control.

CQ-Roll Call is moving the rating on that race to Likely Republican, from Safe Republican.

Shadegg (R-Ariz.) announced earlier this week that he will not seek re-election in 2010.

On the GOP side, State Rep. Sam Crump and state Sen. Jim Waring are now in the race, while state Rep. Jim Weiers, Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Tom Horne, Paradise Valley Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Vernon Parker and state Treasurer Dean Martin (who’s running for governor) have all ruled themselves out.

Crump, who was interested in running for the seat when Shadegg was going to retire in 2008, told CQ-Roll Call he will make a formal announcement in “a matter of days not weeks.”

Three more Republicans — State Sen. Pamela Gorman, former Shadegg Chief of Staff Sean Noble and former Arizona State football star Andrew Walter — also are exploring the race.

On the Democratic side, Phoenix-based small businessman John Hulburd raised more than $315,000 in his first few months as a candidate.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now listing the 3rd district seat as one of its top takeover targets. A crowded, divisive Republican primary could create an opening for the Democratic candidate.

Arizona GOP operative Jason Rose told CQ-Roll Call that Hulburd is well-regarded in the community, but added, “I don’t care who the Democrat is, they are not going to win in that congressional district this year.”

In the 2008 presidential contest, that district went for Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama by a margin of 56 percent to 42 percent.