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Arizona Congressional Races to Watch

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12091854 (posted Sep. 18, 2012)"

Arizona's competitive House races
For the first time in decades Arizona may send a Democratic controlled Congressional delegation to Congress. The state is expected to maintain four reliably Republican House seats and two Democratic strongholds, but three newly drawn competitive districts-the 1st District in rural eastern Arizona, the 2nd District in southern Arizona and the urban 9th District in the Phoenix metro area-appear to lean Democratic, according to national political analysts, though the races are far from slam dunks. If the delegation does swing from the current 5-3 Republican majority, it would be the result of a combination of factors tied to redistricting: two incumbent Republican congressmen switched to safer districts; an open ninth seat was created because of Arizona's population gains; and several districts became more competitive in terms of voter makeup (Pew estimates that 18% of Arizona's registered voters are Hispanic, while 39% of the Hispanic population in this state are eligible to vote).

District 1: Ann Kirkpatrick (D) vs. Jonathon Paton (R)
Democrats in this rural northeastern district, which includes Flagstaff, Globe and several tribal reservations, have about 30,000 more active voters than Republicans. Former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick was elected here in 2008 but was ousted during the 2010 "Tea Party" wave by Republican Rep. Paul Gosar. Rep. Gosar left the seat open this year by switching to run in the safer conservative District 4. Democrats believe Kirkpatrick can retake the newly open seat because of an impressive fundraising advantage and an increased Democratic voting edge. But Republicans point to factors in their favor: the district supported Republican presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and George W. Bush, and the area's large Mormon population could increase this year's Republican turnout for Mitt Romney.

Ann Kirkpatrick campaign site
From her campaign site: "Immigration and Border Security: Immigration and border security issues are especially urgent here in Arizona, but unfortunately we've seen many elected officials and candidates use these issues for their own political gain instead of actually solving the problems. I support a federal immigration strategy that includes a) proper funding for border security and the tools to protect our communities from criminal cartels and traffickers, and b) fair and sensible reform measures that recognize those who are in our country working hard, playing by the rules and doing their part to build a stronger future. This is what America was founded on.

DREAM Act: I support it. The DREAM Act provides a fair and sensible process for young people who were brought into this country as children and are now working hard, playing by the rules and building a stronger future. This rigorous process allows young people who meet specific qualifications to serve in the armed forces or pursue a higher education in order to obtain legal status. The DREAM Act has been endorsed by fair-minded people across our nation -- from top Pentagon officials to editorial boards to Republicans and Democrats alike."

Jonathon Paton campaign site
From his campaign site: "Secure the Border: I am proud to be the author of the nation's first state-based human smuggling law, as well as voting for and helping to pass SB1070, Arizona's immigration law.

We must secure the border and stop the vicious drug cartels from making further inroads into Arizona. Something is seriously wrong when signs must be posted telling visitors to stay away from national parks due to drug cartel activity - and yet the federal government does nothing about it. Rather than mock the problem along our border, Washington needs do something about the urgent crisis we face that is bankrupting our schools and hospitals and putting our communities and law enforcement officers in danger.

We need a major influx of national guardsmen on our border, completion of the double layer fence, more technology and more checkpoints. I believe that border security is national security, and we must proceed with urgency."

District 2: Rob Barber (D) vs. Martha McSally (R)
The Democrats have won the past four congressional elections in the area now covered by this district, including the most recent special election to fill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' open seat. Giffords' former top aide, Ron Barber, won by a surprising margin in June, drawing a large independent vote as well as Republican support, and will have the advantage of incumbency. However, Republicans likely have a better chance at giving Rep. Barber a run for his money than in the special election with Republican Martha McSally, a charismatic former Air Force pilot who appeals to many independents. Republicans in this district have about 6,500 more active voters than Democrats and voting patterns show the district chose McCain and Bush for president.

Ron Barber campaign site
From his campaign site: "Ron recognizes that all Americans have a right to a secure border, and that it is the responsibility of the federal government to uphold that right. People in Southern Arizona who are affected by the dangerous activities of drug cartels along our border know that Ron is no stranger to the issue of border security. As district director for Congresswoman Giffords, he fought for the resources to secure the border.

Ron fought for a position on the House Committee on Homeland Security and joined the Border Security Caucus. That's the way Ron has made border security issues a priority. He introduced bipartisan legislation, the United States-Mexico Cross Border Security Act, which calls for the United States and Mexico to work cooperatively to fight Mexican criminal organizations that threaten people living on both sides of the border. Ron has also continued to meet with ranchers, local mayors, and border patrol agents to hear from them what they need and how we can better secure the border."

Martha McSally campaign site
From her campaign site: "Strong Border Security: Our porous border is a homeland security threat and, increasingly, a national security threat. This is not about people seeking a better life, this is about Transnational Criminal Organizations and others who aim to do us harm having unconstrained access to our neighborhoods. Arizona is disproportionately impacted by the flow of drugs, crime and people pouring across our border. Yet the amount of money we spend on securing our borders, a federal government responsibility, is a mere rounding error of the billions we have spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have the technology. We have the ability. We can secure our borders. We just need the political will to do it.

Intelligent Immigration Policies: We must strictly enforce our immigration laws. Once our border is secure, we have to develop a system that ends the arbitrary quota system, and streamlines the process for law-abiding immigrants who want to come here and fulfill their dreams. We have to know who is entering our country, and why. We need to keep out anyone who would harm us, while offering those who would work for it a chance to succeed."

District 9 Kyrsten Sinema (D) vs. Vernon Parker (R)
Perhaps the greatest wild card in the state, District 9, covers parts of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Ahwatukee. Republicans have about 12,500 more active voters than Democrats. Yet independents make up more votes than either party, the only district in the state with that makeup, adding an extra level of uncertainty. It's the only swing district whose voters went for Obama in 2008 and against Republican Gov. Jan Brewer two years later. The seat is open after freshman Rep. Ben Quayle chose to switch to a solidly Republican district. He now is taking on fellow GOP freshman Rep. David Schweikert in the northeast Valley's 6th Congressional District.

Kyrsten Sinema campaign site
From her campaign site: "Arizona shares the second-longest border with Mexico, after Texas. Every day, law enforcement fights a losing battle with criminal drug, weapons and human traffickers as well as workers and families looking for a better life here in Arizona. Sinema believes now is the time to act, and supports a comprehensive approach that increases resources to ensure our border is safe and secure, creates a market-based solution that meets the demand for skilled and unskilled labor in our country, and settles the status of millions of undocumented workers in our country. Mass deportations are not an option - not only would the cost to taxpayers be astronomical, but it would be unfair and inhumane to many families. Sinema believes instead that we need to create a tough but fair path to citizenship for undocumented workers that requires them to get right with the law by paying back taxes, paying a fine and learning English as a condition of gaining citizenship.

Sinema is also proud to support the DREAM Act. She believes that children who grew up in the U.S., who came here through no fault of their own, speak English and think of themselves as American should be allowed to become American citizens. Many of these students know no other country but ours, have served in uniform to defend it, are educated and ready to work, and deserve a legal path to U.S. citizenship. In addition, the DREAM Act would help reduce the federal budget deficit and increase our military readiness. Sinema helped lead the fight in support of the Arizona DREAM Act in Arizona, and will support it in Congress.

Vernon Parker campaign site
From his campaign site: "We need leaders who will insist that border security is a national security problem for the United States. We must enforce our laws against employers who hire illegal aliens and eliminate the lawlessness along our border. By securing the California and Texas border, the federal government effectively funneled the majority of drug and human trafficking into Arizona.

It is incomprehensible that our borders remain unsecured, but all travelers have to take their shoes off to fly on an airplane. We screen visa applicants and travelers, but we leave the back door to our country wide open. Once the border is secure we can focus our attention on reforming our broken immigration system."

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