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Tobin considering congressional run

Arizona Speaker of the House Rep. Andy Tobin, R-Dewey, speaks with Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, in Phoenix. The Arizona Legislature begins its 2012 regular session on Monday, amid expectations that lawmakers will be in a rush to finish. It's an election year, and some legislators will want to return to their districts to start campaigning as soon as possible. In many cases, those districts are dramatically different because of redistricting.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Though he isn’t actively looking into running for higher office, House Speaker Andy Tobin said that he won’t rule out a run in the new 4th Congressional District.

He said several of his constituents and political backers have urged him to run.

“Folks have been looking for me,” he said. “I have a job to do down at the Legislature, to finish what I started.

“Just because people look at things for you doesn’t mean you’re looking.”

Tobin became speaker in April 2011 after Kirk Adams resigned both his leadership post and his legislative seat for a congressional bid of his own.

After the legislative session ends, Tobin said he would determine whether he will run for Congress.

If he does, he would enter a crowded field. U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar announced Jan. 7 that he will run in CD4 instead of running in the 1st Congressional District, where his Flagstaff home is. Gosar said he will buy a second home in Prescott, which is in CD4.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has also announced his candidacy, and Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, is exploring a run and is expected to formally enter the race this week.

The sprawling 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.

If he enters, Tobin would be the only candidate in the race who lives permanently in Yavapai County.

Even though he says he isn’t actively pursuing a congressional run, Tobin gave a blunt assessment of Gosar’s decision to switch districts.

“You don’t just move an hour-and-a-half away and say you’ve always lived there,” he said, referring to Gosar’s proclamation that he aims to continue to represent rural Arizona. “People in Prescott understand that.”

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