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UNENDORSING KOZACHIK

Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik, who has yet to draw a GOP opponent in his race for reelection this year, lost a few endorsements in recent weeks.

The Tucson Police Officers Association withdrew their endorsement because Kozachik didn't support raises for police.

"Council Member Kozachik voted against giving overworked and understaffed dispatchers a pay increase," TPOA officials announced via Facebook. "He voted against giving water, environmental services and street maintenance employees a pay increase. And he voted against giving the firefighters and police officers who risk their lives every day for the city of Tucson a pay increase."

The Tucson Association of Realtors withdrew its endorsement on July 1, saying that Kozachik didn't support bringing the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

"The F-35 appears to be the long-term future of the Air Force, our national defense strategy and our community's economic vitality," TAR CEO Philip Tedesco said in a prepared statement. "What's troubling is Mr. Kozachik's position that he only supports the current mission of the base. His failure to endorse expanding the mission at D-M and the 162nd Fighter Wing is a dangerous gamble for our community and has caused us to reconsider and withdraw our endorsement."

Kozachik said leaders of the two organizations "haven't really thought about what I've done for their membership."

"I still support the rank-and-file cops and I'm going to work to keep housing prices down so that the men and women who are trying to make a living as realtors have a fighting chance in this economy," Kozachik told The Skinny. "In both cases, in my opinion, a small number of guys in the leadership diminished themselves by making their endorsements single-issue calls, and not respecting the work that I've done overall in the last four years. Everybody knows that I've worked hard on behalf of the police and anybody who's been paying any attention knows that I've embraced the role of D-M in our community."

CD2 REMATCH

The Skinny mentioned last week that Republican Martha McSally, who nearly unseated Congressman Ron Barber in 2012, was taking steps for a congressional run in 2014 by filing paperwork establishing her candidacy with the FEC.

After our deadline, McSally sent out a press release saying she was "humbled by the overwhelming enthusiasm and encouragement" she had received for a rematch against Barber.

"Everywhere I go, people are asking me to consider another run and offering incredible support to ensure victory this time," McSally said in the release. "We came so close to winning against so many odds in 2012. I served in uniform for 26 years and ran for Congress in 2012 with a conviction to continue serving and leading at a critical time in our community and nation. After much consideration, I have decided to seriously explore the option of serving in this capacity again."

McSally's release brought a response from Democratic strategist Rodd McLeod, who helped Barber win both the June special election to finish Gabby Giffords' congressional term and the November general election for the Congressional District 2 seat.

"With McSally, it's always about herself, her plans and political ambitions—but Martha McSally has no plans for helping middle class Arizonans, and just like last election, she hides her positions on the serious issues that affect our families," McLeod said.

If McSally does run (and all signs point to a campaign) and Barber decides to seek reelection, it's sure to be a race to watch.

McSally, a former Air Force squadron leader, moved back to Southern Arizona to jump into the special election to replace Giffords. She came in second in the four-way GOP primary for that race and was the only one of those candidates to give it a shot in the general election.

She came remarkably close to defeating Barber, with votes being counted for 11 days after the election before Barber could declare victory by fewer than 2,500 votes. That was largely due to a strong showing in Cochise County, where she won more than 58 percent of the vote. (Here in Pima, Barber won 52 percent of the vote, but since Pima has the vast majority of the voters in the district, Barber narrowly prevailed overall.)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is eager to see McSally in the race. Last week, NRCC officials released a poll showing that Barber and McSally remained in a dead heat with CD2 voters.

A survey this early should be viewed with skepticism—and we should remember that the NRCC was also certain, based on their polling, that Republican Jesse Kelly was going to beat Barber in the special election, so their methodology of choosing likely voters may not be all that solid.

All that said, the poll of 400 likely voters (conducted June 17-18) showed that 46 percent favored Barber, while 45 percent favored McSally. Given the margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent, that's a statistical tie.

Another question yet to be answered: Will McSally face a primary? We hear that Ed Martin, an occasional fill-in radio host for morning-talk jock Jon Justice, has been talking about running as well. Martin is a New York transplant with experience working as a press secretary for U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, among other gigs.

A primary could be trouble for McSally. Southern Arizona's GOP voters have leaned toward voting for the most conservative candidate in the primary. Given that dynamic, McSally will likely have to hang onto the very conservative positions she took in 2012 (such as opposing abortion in all cases except rape, incest and when a mother's life is in danger, or supporting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would limit marriage to one man and one woman) rather than moderating herself for greater appeal to independents in the district.

PROUD'S MOVE

A few weeks ago, The Skinny reported that former state lawmaker Terri Proud would not be challenging state Rep. Ethan Orr in a Republican primary in Legislative District 9, which includes central Tucson and the Catalina foothills.

We noted at the time that, Proud could move into Legislative District 1—a much more conservative district that would better suit her political bent.

And it appears that's just what Proud has done; she announced last week that she's looking at running for the House of Representatives in LD11, which includes Oro Valley, Pinal County and a southern portion of Maricopa County.

"I'm returning to the Legislature to serve the will of the people of LD11 and to fight against the control of Washington in Arizona," Proud told The Skinny via Facebook.

Right now, the two LD11 House seats are held by Republicans Adam Kwasman and Steve Smith. Kwasman announced last week that he's exploring a congressional run against U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (and that exploration is just a fig leaf to avoid Arizona's resign-to-run law), while Smith is planning to run for the LD11 Senate seat now held by Al Melvin, who plans to run for governor next year.

So far, two other Republicans have announced their interest in the open House seats: Bob Westerman, a former chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, and Vince Leach, a conservative activist who has the endorsement of Melvin and Smith.

By Jim Nintzel

Find early and late-breaking Skinny at The Range, our daily dispatch at daily.tucsonweekly.com

Jim Nintzel hosts AZ Illustrated Politics, airing at 6:30 p.m. every Friday on PBS 6. The program repeats on 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Nintzel also talks politics with radio talk-show host John C. Scott on Thursday afternoons. Scott's show airs from 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KVOI, 1030 AM.

Twitter: @nintzel

More by Jim Nintzel

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