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Gosar will switch districts, run in CD4

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar confirmed rumors that have been swirling around in political circles for months, announcing on Saturday that he will move to Prescott and seek reelection in Arizona’s new 4th Congressional District.

Gosar announced this morning that he’s moving from Flagstaff to CD4, which takes him out of the competitive but Democratic-leaning 1st Congressional District. Prescott is part of his current district, but not the new CD1 he was drawn into during the redistricting process.

His announcement was first reported by Prescottenews.com.

The long-anticipated move gets Gosar out of a competitive district where he was likely to face a tough general election matchup against former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, a one-term Democrat he unseated in 2010.

The move puts Gosar in a district where Republicans have an overwhelming advantage. But in CD4, he’ll likely face a three-way GOP primary fight against Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who formally announced his campaign on Wednesday, and Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, who formed an exploratory committee in December. Gould is expected to formally enter the race next week, after the legislative session begins.

In CD1, Gosar faced a likely rematch with Kirkpatrick, whom he unseated in the 2010 election, Kirkpatrick has already raised about $450,000. National Democrats are targeting the race as a possible pickup.

In his last campaign finance report in October, Gosar reported raising a total of about $460,000.

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commissioner drew CD1 to be competitive. Democrats hold a 9-point voter registration edge in the district, but that advantage shrinks to 4 percent under several voter performance equations. In the old CD1, Democrats had a slight voter registration edge.

Rumors that Gosar would move started circulating almost as soon as the IRC approved its congressional draft map in late October. Gosar was also part of a contingent of Republican Arizona congressmen who urged Gov. Jan Brewer to remove the commission’s chairwoman so the remapping process could be restarted.

CD4, also known as the “river district,” runs the length of the Colorado River from northern Yuma to the Utah state line, stretches through Yavapai County and wraps around the fringes of the Phoenix metro area into northern Pinal County. With an 18-point voter registration advantage and 27-point voter performance advantage, CD4 is one of the most reliably Republican districts on Arizona’s new congressional map.

Other Republicans have been eying the seat while awaiting word of Gosar’s plans. Corporation Commission Chairman Gary Pierce, who lives in the East Valley but owns a home in Forest Lakes in southern Coconino County, has said he may run in CD1 if Gosar moves to CD4, and former Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, is also considering a run.

Gosar, a Flagstaff dentist, had a rough first year in office. He was plagued by staffing problems and several employees have resigned. He has refused to fire chief of staff Rob Robinson and legislative director Tom Van Flein, against the wishes of the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to reports.

8 comments

  1. See ya, Gosar!

  2. Just as the redistricting commission planned it, CD1 residents now have no incumbent and it’s very close to the same lines in the legislative district so they have no incumbent there, either. It’s a farce to even think this is a true competitive district. They stacked it with every tribal reservation they could get to, including some they had to work hard to get to. They carved out CD9 for the Democrats, too. That makes 4 confirmed protected districts for Dems who have a 30% voter registration. Two protected Republican districts, CD4 & CD6 and the R’s have a 36% voting registration. The other 3 might be actually competitive, maybe!!!
    Nice job of gerrymandering, Democrat Commissioners

  3. One of Ann’s supporters recently asked me why I’m not supporting Ann and I explained that Ann has proven that she fears the TEA PARTY we need someone with the guts to stand up to them. Most of my friends in CD1 are supporting Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Congress. I have a feeling that Randy Parraz has taught the people of Arizona it does not take endless money to enact change it takes a good cause and the dedication of volunteers.

  4. Vote for Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Arizona’s 1st congressional district!

  5. Gosar knows that if he faces a level playing field, he will lose. Palin’s buddies, Robinson and van Flein would be albatrosses around hi neck in such a race. So, we see an inept congressman moving into a new district, facing challenges from Arpaio’s kid brother and a man who had to cave on supporting his buddy, because of assault charges. Not much of a choice for Republicans….Meanwhile, Democrats DO have a choice. The can either elect a candidate who skated on the Dream Act and supported SB 1070, a law which decimated Arizona’s economy, to supply fodder for the Koch brothers’ financed private prison system, and caved on many other issues, favoring corporations over the citizen, or they can choose a candidate who will represent their needs. They can elect Wenona Benally Baldenegro, and see support for Medicare, Social Security, and mine safety. Wenona stands against mining for uranium at the Grand Canyon, and demands Peabody clean up their mess, so the Navajo can stop wheezing to death. Yes, Democrats have a real choice. They can vote for more of the same, or Wenona, a candidate who will serve the people.

  6. Baldenegro? LOL. Vote for Baldenegro in the primary and you guarantee the Republicans a victory in the general. She is poorly positioned (perceived as too liberal) has no money and no organization, a recipe for electoral disaster. Of course, Democrats are well-known for forming a circle and shooting themselves.

  7. Baldenegro is the best chance that we have to take back this seat for the Democrats. She is inspiring the Democratic base, who Ann turned her back on with her yes vote on the Bush tax cuts, her no vote on enforcing CO2 regulations, her refusal to co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act, her betrayal of the Indian tribes, her support of SB1070, and her skipped vote on the DREAM Act.

    Meanwhile, Baldenegro is inspiring the people, and has received the endorsements of Congressman Raul Grijalva, Congressman Keith Ellison, the United Steelworkers of America, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, State Sen. Steve Gallardo, Randy Parraz, State Reps. Catherine Miranda, Bruce Wheeler, Macario Saldate, and Sally Gonzales, among many others. These people would not have put their names behind Wenona, if she didn’t have \organization.\

    Ann may have all the money in the world, but she has absolutely no support, and she cannot buy her way back into office. She tried to buy her way into office, in 2010, when she lost to Paul Gosar the Dentist, despite outspending him 2 to 1. Baldenegro is one of the most exciting candidates in the United States, and she will be the real Democrat that Arizona deserves.

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