By Alexander Lomax
I recently spoke about Rep. Kirkpatrick’s retirement and how the race to succeed her will almost certainly become crowded. We received a bit more clarity recently with Randy Friese’s official announcement of his candidacy.
Friese joins Kirsten Engel as the two stated candidates to succeed Kirkpatrick. Like Engel, Friese has spent plenty of time in the state legislature with little to account for it, the victim of being permanently and fastidiously in the minority at the Capitol. However, Friese has another thing going for him; he was the doctor who helped treat Gabby Giffords after her 2011 assassination attempt.
Indeed, Giffords’s sphere of influence has proven to be something that her would-be assassin never could have imagined. To have treated her is enough of a catalyst to send someone to the state legislature and become a legitimate Congressional candidate (Friese), to have been an intern for her was enough to be vaulted to the state House of Reps (Hernandez Jr.), and to be married to her (along with being an astronaut, of course) enough to become a US Senator. It is as if she is the political equivalent of one of the most historic coaching trees in sports.
Will this be the last of the major announcements for Arizona’s 2nd congressional district? It may very well be. Along with the strength of both announced candidates, federal laws allow for candidates to run for seats in districts in which they do not live in. And many, MANY Democrats have already been eyeing both the 10th Congressional district which will be created this year due to our population increase, as well as the 9th district which many political insiders believe current occupant Greg Stanton will abandon in pursuit of statewide office. There will be no shortage of potential options for upwardly mobile and unceasingly ambitious folks here.
So while the chessboard has cleared up a bit, the big moves have yet to be made, and many are breathlessly waiting on them.