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Parker poised to enter CD9 race

Vernon Parker

Paradise Valley Town Councilman Vernon Parker will make a “major announcement” on Wednesday and is expected to jump into the GOP primary for Arizona’s 9th Congressional District.

A press release on Monday did not say exactly what Parker’s announcement will be. But the announcement was released by Brian Murray of Summit Consulting Group, who worked on Parker’s 2010 campaign. Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, who flirted with the CD9 race as well, is listed as a campaign co-chair.

Parker, who lost the GOP primary in the 3rd Congressional District in 2010, will announce his plans at the Old Main Building at Arizona State University. Parker chose the date because it is the two-year anniversary of Congress’s passage of the Affordable Care Act, known to many Republicans as “Obamacare.”

Paradise Valley is not part of CD9, but Parker has said he would move into the district if he ran.

The announcement comes as other high-profile Republicans who considered running in CD9 have bowed out of the race. Businessman Steve Moak, who also ran in the 2010 GOP primary for CD3, and Corporation Commission Chairman Gary Pierce both declined to run, and Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley announced his candidacy, only to withdraw a couple weeks later.

U.S. Rep. Ben Quayle, who beat Moak and Parker in the 2010 primary, lives in CD9 but is running in the neighboring 6th Congressional District against fellow GOP incumbent David Schweikert.

Voter registration and performance numbers show CD9 to be extremely competitive, but may be daunting for Republican candidates who are wary of voting trends that favor Democrats. While hometown favorite U.S. Sen. John McCain won Arizona in 2008, CD9 voters favored Barack Obama. And while Democrats Terry Goddard and Felecia Rotellini lost the statewide votes in their races for governor and attorney general in 2010, the majority of CD9 voters supported them.

With name ID and experience from the 2010 campaign on his side, Parker will likely enter the Republican primary as the frontrunner. Businessman Travis Grantham, former Air Force pilot Wendy Rogers and former Chandler City Councilman Martin Sepulveda are also running in CD9.

A poll commissioned by Parker last month showed him with about 13 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, just two points behind Stapley.

Former prosecutor and Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny, Sen. David Schapira and former Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are vying for the Democratic nomination in CD9.

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