Former state legislator Jonathan Paton is making another run for a congressional seat, but he won’t be seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who resigned her seat today a year after she was shot in the head in an assassination attempt.
Instead, he will run in a district dramatically different from the one he unsuccessfully sought in the 8th Congressional District in 2010, when he lost in the Republican primary to Tea Party candidate Jesse Kelly.
Paton this morning announced on a Tucson conservative talk radio show that he will run for the new 1st Congressional District, which includes most of northern and eastern Arizona. It stretches from the Grand Canyon to the state’s eastern border, and south around the metro Phoenix area. It also includes communities northwest of Tucson that were previously in CD8.
The seat in CD1 became vacant earlier this month when U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Flagstaff, announced he would instead seek re-election in the heavily Republican 4th Congressional District instead of squaring off against Flagstaff Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, whom he defeated in 2010.
Paton has said he will move to CD1 from his Tucson home, which is in the new 2nd Congressional District.
In an e-mail to supporters, Paton said Kirkpatrick is being funded by liberal groups that are fighting to help Democrats regain control of the U.S. House.
“Kirkpatrick’s major donor list reads like a Who’s Who of Liberal America — Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Weiner, Emily’s List, Big Labor, and radical environmentalist groups have all written big checks,” he wrote. “What’s clear is that we need someone representing us in Congress who shares our values and will work for Arizona — not for themselves and extremist interests.”
Kirkpatrick’s campaign wasted no time and resurrected an attack that the Arizona Democratic Party leveled at Paton during the 2010 campaign.
“Here in Congressional District One, the last thing we need is a payday-lending lobbyist or a carpetbagger representing us in Congress. Jonathan Paton is both,” said Kirkpatrick spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson.
Democrats have a 39.6 percent to 30.1 percent voter registration advantage over Republicans in CD1. However, a competitiveness analysis by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which designed the district to be one of three competitive districts in the state, shows voters in CD1 have favor Democratic candidates by less than one percentage point since 2004.