Kirkpatrick to Challenge McSally in Arizona

Calls incumbent ‘one of the ringleaders behind repealing the Affordable Care Act’

Ann Kirkpatrick represented Arizona’s 1st District for three terms before giving up her seat to run against Republican Sen. John McCain. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Arizona Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick announced Thursday she will challenge Rep. Martha McSally in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

Kirkpatrick represented Arizona’s 1st District from 2009 to 2011 and again from 2013 until January after losing in her bid against Sen. John McCain.

“We need a leader in Congress who can be a check on Donald Trump,” Kirkpatrick said in her announcement. “My current representative Martha McSally has not only supported him, but she was one of the ringleaders behind repealing the Affordable Care Act.”

Kirkpatrick’s announcement also pointed to a recently released recording of McSally speaking at the Arizona Bankers Association about President Donald Trump’s effect on her re-election bid, and claimed that McSally said “I’m like his twin sister.”

However, the recording, obtained by Tucson Weekly shows McSally saying “There’s just an element out there that’s just, like, so against the president. Like they just can’t see straight. And all of a sudden on January 20, I’m like his twin sister to them. And I’m, like, responsible for everything he does, and tweets and says.”

Kirkpatrick had previously launched an exploratory committee to tour the district after she moved to Tucson. 

She’ll face a crowded Democratic primary. Matt Heinz, who lost to McSally last year by 14 points, is running again. Small business owner Billy Kovacs has announced his run, and physician Bruce Wheeler is also a candidate in the race.

Even though McSally won re-election handily in 2016, her district was one of 23 districts that broke for Hillary Clinton, according to an analysis by liberal website the Daily Kos.

The National Republican Congressional Committee listed McSally as part of its Patriot Program for members who could potentially be vulnerable.

Roll Call/Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Lean Republican.

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