By Alexander Lomax
ICYMI earlier this month Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick announced that she will not be running for re-election. She carved her path to Washington like numerous Arizona Democrats have: through the middle. Not one to make waves and more inclined to stick to issues closer to home rather than party-affiliated bombast, it might be easy for us in the Kingdom of Maricopa to forget her time in Washington, although I’m not convinced that that’s a bad thing.
The thing that sticks out to me most about her came from a problem. After she injured herself in a fall, she admitted to the world that she had a problem with alcohol and that she was seeking help for it. Politics is a field that works strenuously to cover the flaws of the politicians it depends on. For one of its own to be so honest and open was incredibly refreshing and even more brave. Perhaps the admission prompted folks with similar issues to find the strength to fix them, which wouldn’t be a bad legacy to leave in and of itself.
Very quickly, however, the conversation turned towards the Hunger Games that are newly open seats. Arizona’s 2nd district went for Biden by 11 points, so the focus immediately turns to the Democrats running. Current State Rep Kirsten Engel has thrown her hat into the mix, and another Rep., Dr. Randy Friese, has given a wink nudge acknowledgment that he is very interested in the seat. However, the beauty (or downside, depending on who you ask) of Congressional races is that since you don’t need to live in the district to run to represent it, who knows who may try to parachute in to run. That is how Rep. Kirkpatrick first came to run in the district after all.
That said, a disclaimer is necessary, as the Independent Redistricting Committee will change up the boundaries for 2022. It will be a different district that they will run in; likely similar in its voter registration make-up, but not guaranteed.
While it may be easy to discount potential Republican contenders due to the district being a bluer hue of purple, that may be hasty. Martha McSally did represent this same district after all, even if it was the centrist version of McSally before she calculated that her path forward predicated itself on her kissing President Trump’s butt early and often. There is a path for centrist Republicans, but it won’t be an easy one, nor a cheap one.
Regardless, it is clear that once again one of the biggest winners will be the local TV affiliates. With a hotly contested Congressional race along with a Governor’s and a U.S. Senate race to bid up commercial prices to their most costly tier, it looks like 2022 will be another good year for Tucson affiliate ad sales teams. And Rep. Kirkpatrick, who hopefully will enjoy a peaceful retirement, and hopefully will DVR past all of the campaign ads on TV.