We already Know that ex-Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) has stolen all the media attention in this race for now…
image…Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Martha McSally (R) will announce a bid for the Senate seat of Sen. Jeff Flake (R) today. McSally, a former fighter pilot who won and then held down her purple seat in two competitive elections, will be a strong establishment choice in the race. So far she faces two much more antiestablishment contenders, ex-Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) and ex-State Sen. and 2016 Senate candidate Kelli Ward (R). McSally would likely be a much stronger general election candidate for the tough race against Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) relative to Arpaio or Ward.
McSally’s decision opens up AZ-2, an R+1 seat covering most of the Tucson area, except the Hispanic-heavy central and southern portions of Tucson and some of the city’s northern suburbs, as well as Cochise County in the rural southeast corner of the state. The Mathismander actually probably made this seat very slightly more Republican than a fair map by stretching it east out of the Tucson area. However, it is still likely to be one of Republicans’ toughest holds this year as an open seat with a large white liberal base in urban Tucson. One Republican, businesswoman Lea Marquez-Peterson (R), is already in the race anticipating a McSally Senate run; however, the field may grow significantly from there. State Sen. Gail Griffin (R) and State Reps. Becky Nutt (R), Drew John (R), and Todd Clodfelter (R) all live in the district, as does ex-State House Speaker David Gowan (R), who considered and aborted a run for AZ-1 in 2014. From local office, there is Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier (R), Pima County commissioners Ally Miller (R) and Steve Christy (R), and Douglas City Councilman DJ Morales (R). Miller and Morales have been pegged as being interested in a run already.
Democrats’ major candidate in the race so far is ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who carpetbagged here from Flagstaff to take on McSally….