FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The field of candidates in the race for a Congressional district that covers a large swath of northern and eastern Arizona is narrowing.
Doug Wade announced Monday he is suspending his campaign to represent Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Flagstaff and the Navajo Nation, due to a lack of funding and other resources. He instead is asking voters to support fellow Republican Gaither Martin, one of three remaining candidates seeking the GOP nomination.
“This is a first-time campaign for me,” Wade told The Associated Press. “I lacked the political campaign experience, so we’ve had some misstarts and hiccups in forming a good financial committee and fundraising. I don’t have the kind of connections I need.”
Wade had raised $43,500 in the race, with a more than a third of it coming from his own pockets. He had about $9,000 cash on hand as of June 30, which came in behind Martin’s $86,000 and Jonathan Paton’s $343,100. The other GOP candidate, Patrick Gatti, had no report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Wade doesn’t plan to formally withdraw with the secretary of state’s office. It’s too late to remove his name from the Aug. 28 primary ballot. If he officially withdraws, election workers will have to post signs at polling places letting people know that any votes cast for him won’t be counted.
The Democrats in the race are former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Wenona Baldenegro, who has brought in only a portion of the money that Kirkpatrick has raised for the nomination.
The decision by Republican first-time Rep. Paul Gosar to seek office in another district means the seat is open. The winner will represent a sprawling district that extends from the northern outskirts of Tucson on the south to the Arizona-Utah line on the north.
Libertarian Anthony Prowell won’t get that chance after he was removed from the race in June. The Maricopa County Superior Court had ordered that Prowell and three other Libertarians be kept off the ballot because they turned in signatures from registered independent voters, which were found not to be part of the qualified electorate to sign their petitions.
Prowell said he was told by county elections officials that those signatures would count. He decided against appealing the ruling but plans to throw his hat in the 2nd Congressional District race as a write-in candidate. That district covers most of Pima County and all of Cochise County.
“You can get beat when someone’s better than you, but don’t quit,” said Prowell, an elementary school teacher in Tucson. “I don’t see how I can tell that to my students and not do it myself. If I have to run as a write-in, I’m going to run as a write-in.”
The state Republican Party supported the challenges to oust the Libertarians. Party spokesman Tim Sifert acknowledged the candidates could have pulled votes away from Republicans but said, “Our motive really is the integrity of the process and that everybody complies with the rules.”