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Kirkpatrick continues fundraising roll

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Flagstaff (File photo)

Flagstaff Democrat and former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, in her bid to regain the seat she lost to Republican Paul Gosar in 2010, raised more than $200,000 in the last quarter of 2011.

Her campaign raised just north of $700,000 in 2011 and enters 2012 with a little more than $465,000 cash on hand.

It’s the third quarter in a row that Kirkpatrick has raised more than $200,000, but the steady flow of cash is just one among several positive signs, a campaign spokeswoman said.

Paul Gosar’s decision to switch to a more Republican-favoring district in western Arizona leaves Arizona’s 1st Congressional District with no incumbent. And with only a modestly funded Democratic primary challenger, Wendy Baldenegro, Kirkpatrick’s campaign begins the year far ahead.

The race was already a high priority seat for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but after being redistricted to slightly more favorable for Democrats, Jennifer Johnson, a campaign spokeswoman, said party election officials consider the district a “red-to-blue” flip, judging by district makeup data.

“It’s a great start to 2012, especially with (Paul) Gosar switching districts,” Johnson said. “There is a lot of energy and excitement about this opportunity to re-elect her.”

Since Gosar announced in January that he would run in the Arizona’s new 4th Congressional District, often referred to as the “river district,” only former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton has come forward as a Republican challenger to Kirkpatrick.

Paton, a Tucson Republican, retired from the Legislature to run for Congress in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in 2010, but lost to fellow Republican Jesse Kelly in the primary.

Paton said that although he only announced his candidacy in late January, he believes the recently redrawn district, which now includes more of southern Arizona, bodes well for him because of his ties to the area.

Paton declined to say how much money he has raised so far, since he is not required to do so yet.

Q4 fundraising: $202,427
2011 fundraising: $702,466
Cash on hand: $465, 556

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