Running for her second term, incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, will be fighting tooth and nail against Dr. Paul Gosar to keep representing Arizona’s 1st U.S. Congressional District.
Candidates for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District (two-year term)
(Encompasses portions of Coconino, Navajo, Gila and Yavapai counties, including the city of Flagstaff. Click here for district map)
Candidate: Ann Kirkpatrick
Political experience: In November 2004, Kirkpatrick was elected to Arizona’s House of Representatives in Legislative District 2, becoming the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Kirkpatrick also served on the Natural Resources, Judiciary and Rules Committees.
She was elected to a second term, but resigned her seat on July 24, 2007, to seek the Democratic nomination for Arizona’s 1st U.S. Congressional District. At that time, three-term Republican incumbent Rick Renzi was due to vacate that seat because of pending federal charges over a land-swap deal.
Kirkpatrick won the Democratic primary on Sept. 2, 2008, and earned 56 percent of the vote in the general election, defeating Republican candidate Sydney Ann Hay. According to Congressmerge.com, Kirkpatrick has served on the following committees and subcommittees during her freshman term:
House Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism ; Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment; Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection
House Committee on Small Business: Subcommittee on Rural Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade; Subcommittee on Finance and Tax
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs: Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs; Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
Professional experience: Born and raised in Arizona, Kirkpatrick earned a law degree from the University Of Arizona College of Law. According to her campaign website, in 1980, Kirkpatrick served as Coconino County’s first female Deputy County Attorney. After serving as Sedona’s city attorney, Kirkpatrick began teaching business law and ethics at Coconino Community College in 2004.
Key Issues: Representative Kirkpatrick introduced several pieces of legislation to protect Arizona’s borders, including H.R. 1867, the Border Violence Prevention Act, which provides for more border guards and up-to-date equipment for protecting Arizona’s borders. Kirkpatrick also sponsored H.R. 1871, the Southwest Border Narcotics Reduction Act, which provides more support on the federal and state level against drug-trafficking from Mexican drug cartels.
A champion of veterans’ issues, Kirkpatrick introduced H.R. 1513, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009, which is design to help veterans and their families keep up with the higher cost of basic necessities. Kirkpatrick also introduced H.R. 2879, the Rural Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2009, a bill that would help veterans living in rural areas get quality medical care.
On the economy, Kirkpatrick says that “there’s nothing like asking your co-workers to take a pay-cut.” In this vein, Kirkpatrick introduced H.R. 4720, the Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act, which would require members of Congress to take a mandatory 5 percent pay-cut. The monies from this mandatory initiative would be sent to the Bureau of Public Debt, an agency with the U.S. Department of the Treasury (watch Representative Kirkpatrick talk about the bill on CBS’ “Washington Unplugged” here).
Endorsements: Representative Kirkpatrick has secured an endorsement from the Committee for a Livable Future (LivPac).
Chances of maintaining her seat: Running for her second term in Congress, Rep. Kirkpatrick had a busy freshman term in office. According to her website, Kirkpatrick sponsored 13 bills, not counting the Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act. Although she has garnered some support for the pay cut, Kirkpatrick has said that the legislation has not made her popular with her colleagues.
Kirkpatrick does have experience in both the Arizona legislature and the U.S. Congress. Her hard work combined with her political background may give her the edge in the upcoming general election over political novice Paul Gosar in this Republican-leaning district.
Candidate: Paul Gosar (challenger)
Political experience: Dr. Paul Gosar, D.D.S., was part of the “Flagstaff Citizens for Fluoride Initiative,” a community committee that wanted to keep fluoride in the local water supply. Gosar also served on the committee for the Gold Crown Ball, a local Flagstaff charity event.
Professional experience: After receiving his D.D.S from the Creighton Boyne School of Dentistry, Gosar opened his own dental practice in Flagstaff in 1985. According to his official campaign website, Gosar has been named “Dentist of the Year” by the Arizona Dental Association and also was inducted into the Arizona Dental Association’s Hall of Fame.
Key Issues: Immigration remains a hot button topic in Arizona, and Gosar favors what he calls “true immigration reform.” On his website, he talks of his support of H.R. 1868 (Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009), a bill that would set limits on who can become an American citizen, in particular the children of undocumented immigrants.
Gosar also addresses small-business issues. As the owner of his own Flagstaff dental practice for 25 years, Gosar says he will ensure lower taxes and less government intrusion on the small-business owner.
On his website, Gosar favors more drilling as well as alternate energy sources. He refers to as a common sense approach to use all available resources and make the United States more energy independent.
Endorsements: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has endorsed Gosar, as have Coconino County Sheriff Joe Richards, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Chances of unseating Ann Kirkpatrick: Compared to Kirkpatrick, Gosar is a relative political novice, although he has been an active member of at least two local Flagstaff committees. The endorsement from the high-profile Palin is hard to ignore, though, and her support of Gosar combined with the backing of three key Arizona sheriffs could turn the general election in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District into a real horse race.
Key Differences between Ann Kirkpatrick and Paul Gosar
Kirkpatrick and Gosar are both strong advocates of strengthening border patrols. Kirkpatrick did, however, oppose SB1070, the controversial Arizona immigration bill that would require legal immigrants to carry proper identification at all times. Gosar, on the other hand, is in favor of legislation limiting who can become an American citizen and came out in support of SB1070.
While Gosar is firmly a pro-life candidate, Rep. Kirkpatrick voted against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the health care bill, which would have put limits on government-funded abortions.
Arizona’s 1st U.S. Congressional District
Location: This district covers 58,000 square miles, an area approximately half the size of Arizona. The 1st Congressional District also includes the city of Flagstaff
2008 Results: In 2008, Ann Kirkpatrick defeated Republican candidate Sydney Ann Hay 56 percent to 39.5 percent. Independent candidate Brent Maupin received 3.4 percent of the vote.
Demographics: According to a 2006-2008 American Community Survey (ACS), the 725,229 residents of Arizona’s 1st Congressional District fall into the following groups: 66.8 percent white, 1.6 percent black, 0.7 percent Asian, 20.4 percent American Indian or Alaska native, 0.1 percent native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander and 7.8 percent other.
The Cook Partisan Voting Index of registered voters gives AZ-1 an R+6 rating, indicating a relatively strong Republican lean in this district.