Here's our annual rundown of who's running for office, along with a list of all the candidate Web sites that we could find. The primary election is Sept. 12; the deadline for registering to vote in the primary is Aug. 14. The general election is Nov. 7.
Richard Mack, the former Graham County sheriff who made headlines with his successful lawsuit challenging the background-check provisions of the federal Brady Bill, is running on the Libertarian ticket.
On the Democratic side, Gabrielle Giffords, who resigned from her state Senate seat to run for Congress, has grabbed the most endorsements and the most checks. Giffords has the support of unions representing teachers, firefighters, police officers, grocery workers and teachers, among others. According to the most recent campaign-finance reports, covering activity through the end of March, she'd raised more than $569,000.
Giffords would likely be cruising to an easy victory in the Democratic primary if it weren't for the entrance of former TV news anchor Patty Weiss. Weiss, who was pushed out of her KVOA Channel 4 TV gig last year, has decided she wants a political career--and given her extraordinary name ID, she's got a reasonable shot at succeeding. Weiss trails Giffords in both endorsements--she's got former KGUN Channel 9 weatherman Paul Huttner and FDR granddaughter Nina Roosevelt Gibson, among others--and fundraising, having raised about $173,000 at the end of last quarter.
Other candidates in the race include:
On other side of the aisle, five Republicans are seeking the seat. The highest profile belongs to Randy Graf, the former state lawmaker who landed 42 percent of the vote when he took on Kolbe two years ago. Graf, who is looking for a new campaign spokesman as of last week (see this week's Skinny for details), has a base among conservatives, but faces a challenge in winning over centrists.
Graf also faces a challenge raising money. As of the end of the last quarter, he had already spent $118,560 of the $130,812 he had raised.
The biggest wallet belongs to Steve Huffman, who is now serving in the state House of Representatives. Huffman, who has won Kolbe's endorsement, had raised $239,659 as of the end of last quarter.
Despite the best efforts of Huffman's supporters to force him out of the race, former GOP national committeeman Mike Hellon stayed in. Hellon has picked up support from the likes of Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, former City Council member Kathleen Dunbar and former Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull.
Also in the race:
Tucsonan Jay Quick, who owns Quick Custom Metals and calls himself the "Average Joe for Congress," will appear on the November ballot as an Independent.
Republican Ron Drake stepped down as mayor of Avondale to take on Grijalva. It's unclear to us--and to the folks we've talked to--whether Drake actually believes he can win, or if this is an effort to build his standing within the GOP.
Either way, Drake has to get past Republican Joe Sweeney, the perennial candidate whose frequent runs for office have given him significant name ID, despite his tenuous grasp on reality. In the 2004 contested primary, Sweeney got more than 70 percent of the vote.
So it's no surprise that many of the Big Names that were floated as Republican challengers--Congressman J.D. Hayworth, for example, or former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley--steered clear of the race.
But that has opened the door to new faces in the GOP:
• Len Munsil, the former director of the Center for Arizona Policy, a Christian-right lobbying organization, is the first Republican candidate to qualify for Clean Elections funding and has landed a whole bunch of endorsements, including half of the state's congressmen and 28 members of the Arizona Legislature. And we suspect he has the Lord on his side.
• Don Goldwater, nephew of the late 'n' legendary Barry Goldwater, has built his campaign around a tough approach on illegal immigration--he suggests undocumented border-crossers be detained in tents near the border and forced to build a wall, for example--but he also wants to eliminate the state income tax, reduce the size of government and expand school choice.
• Mike Harris is a Phoenix businessman who boasts of the billion-dollar deals he's put together--which makes it all the more curious that he's recently argued in court that he needs to lower his child-support payments, because he's close to bankruptcy. Could we have a third-rate Fife Symington on our hands?
• Gary Tupper, a Phoenix contractor who is making his first run for office, is vowing to fight "government waste, injustice and corruption."
Libertarian Barry Hess, who got 1.7 percent of the vote in 2002, is also on the ballot.
But Bill Montgomery, a former prosecutor in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, says Goddard has failed to protect Arizonans from "out-of-control illegal immigration, persistent crime and the erosion of our fundamental freedoms," as well as the specter of gay marriage.
The winner of the GOP primary will face Israel Torres, who served as registrar of contractors in the Napolitano administration.
Libertarian Ernest Hancock will also appear on the November ballot.
Two Democrats are also seeking seats: Richard Boyer, a Sierra Vista lawyer, and Mark Manoil, a Phoenix lawyer.
Libertarian Rick Fowlkes will also appear on the November ballot.
Like most House members from Southern Arizona, Burns is a moderate Republican, which doesn't sit well with many of her Phoenix colleagues and a whole bunch of her constituents. She's facing a challenge from Sierra Vista's Gail Griffin, a House member in the late '90s who leans way right, and Roger Condra, a high school teacher who lost a GOP primary for county assessor two years ago.
Alvarez will be joined on the November ballot by fellow Democrat Pat Fleming, a political activist who is retired from a civilian job at Fort Huachuca.
Republican Mary Ann Black is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Marsha Arzberger.
With Rep. Steve Huffman leaving the House of Representatives behind to run in CD8, there's an open seat. Incumbent Rep. Pete Hershberger is running for re-election; he'll be joined by former lawmaker Carol Somers, as well as newcomers Lisa Lovallo, a business consultant who teaches at the UA Eller School of Business, and David Jorgenson, a custom-home builder who calls himself "100 percent Republican."
Two of the Republicans will face Democrat Lena Saradnik in the November general.
"Do you want a veteran, experienced legislator in there, or do you an appointed newbie?" Downing asks. "I'm not trying to slam her, though."
With Downing giving up his seat, there's a crowded House race. Along with Rep. David Bradley, who is seeking re-election, three Democrats are in:
• Steve Farley, the graphic artist who lost his bid for a City Council seat last year and played a key role in the passage of the transportation sales tax in May, now wants to go the Capitol to focus on transportation, health care and education.
• Ted Prezelski says he'll be focusing on education, social spending and protecting local control against the influence of the Legislature. "A lot of issues go undiscussed, and then we end up with a debate on whether to put flags in classrooms," Prezelski says.
• Matt Heinz, who is wrapping up his medical residency and preparing to start his internal-medicine career, says health care will be his focus. He decided to run for the Legislature because "I can't think of a better place for one or two or three or maybe even a dozen physicians to be than in a legislative body of some sort, trying to sort through this mess. ... I feel I have to help heal the health-care system, to be totally cheesy about it."
Republican Bill Phillips, who lost his first bid for a House seat two years ago, is back for another try again this year.
Republican Bruce Murchison, a high school teacher who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Soltero two years ago, is running for a House seat in the heavily Democratic district. Murchison acknowledges that "it's going to be hard to win, since I'm outnumbered on the voter registration. But I look at our Legislature and see that there are people who just aren't doing their jobs." He says he wants to focus on improving education, fighting crime and creating jobs.
The House GOP primary is a crowded affair. Incumbent lawmakers Jonathan Paton and Marian McClure are both seeking re-election.
The two incumbents are up against magazine distributor David Gowan, who lost the 2004 primary (and ended up in hot water with the Clean Elections Commission, which hasn't stopped him from going after Clean Elections dollars again this year) and Frank Callegari, a retired state trooper who stands for more law and order. For example: To cut costs in the state prison system, he wants to put inmate in tents and then put them to work.
"There's nothing wrong with having tents for prisoners, and I would encourage that, because the brick and mortar costs a lot of money," he says.
The two winners of the GOP primary will face Democrat Clarence Boykins, a longtime local civil-rights activist, in the November general. Boykins is unlikely to win the heavily Republican district, but he could build up name ID for a future run for the Tucson City Council.