Friday, October 19, 2012

Kirkpatrick-Paton Congressional Race: Now a "Toss-Up"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Arizona’s Congressional District 1 race is now “tossup,” according to The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza.

Previously he had ranked the district as “leans Democratic,” but Cillizza now notes:

Former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who is trying to win a district with a slight GOP lean, just got passed over for the Arizona Republic’s endorsement. “We have seen more complete meltdowns in our board meetings, but never one so unexpected,” the paper said of Kirkpatrick. Republican Jonathan Paton has a good shot here.

The Arizona Daily Star and the Casa Grande Dispatch also endorsed Paton.

“We saw a change,” said Paton Spokesman Barrett Marson, “It’s what the campaign has seen on the ground.”

Meanwhile, Team Kirkpatrick is highlighting its strength on the reservations. Kirkpatrick has collected several endorsements from Native American groups the Navajo Agencies and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly also endorsed Kirkpatrick. The CD 1 population claims the largest number of Native Americans in the state and they account for almost 22 percent of the district.

“We’ve launched a massive get-out-the-vote effort across the district,” said Kirkpatrick Spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson. “The effort and organization is unprecedented, particularly in our district’s tribal communities. And we will use every opportunity to share Ann’s message about standing up for the middle class, creating jobs and protecting Medicare.”

The Kirkpatrick campaign has also launched a series of radio ads in the Navajo nation that emphasize her White Mountain roots and prior legislation as a State Rep.

“I fought hard for the Diné people,” said Kirkpatrick in one ad. “We repealed the 43-year-old Benett Freeze Law.”

Outside groups have poured money into the sprawling district that reaches from the Utah border, south to the northern edge of Cochise County and includes Oro Valley, Marana, and Flagstaff.

There has been about $3.5 million in outside expenditures, the highest of any congressional district in the state.

Big Spenders:

-The National Republican Committee has spent $1.38 million in favor of Paton.

-The Democratic Congressional Committee has spent $1.17 million in favor of Kirkpatrick

-The America Future fund added $442,000 to the mix in favor of Paton.

-The House Majority PAC chipped in $406,000 in to oppose Paton.

-Women Vote, a group that supports Democratic pro-choice women also known as Emily's List, contributed $108,000 to oppose Paton.

Paton’s personal campaign, however, has lagged behind Kirkpatrick’s fundraising since the beginning. Kirkpatrick has raised nearly $1.9 million through the end of September, while Paton has raked in about $951,000. Both candidates received about 75 percent of their contributions from individuals, according to campaign finance reports filed earlier this week.

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