With just two women among the five Democrats seeking to unseat Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally in Southern Arizona’s Congressional District 2, EMILY’s List had to make a choice between a former congresswoman in Ann Kirkpatrick and a retired Pentagon accountant in Mary Matiella.
The D.C.-based fundraising titan is going with Kirkpatrick.
Emily List President Stephanie Schriock called Kirkpatrick “a trailblazer who loves Arizona. Arizonans need her leadership and courage so she can continue fighting for opportunity, shared economic prosperity, and safe and thriving communities.”
It’s another sign—beyond Kirkpatrick’s third-quarter fundraising haul of $350K and her recent endorsements from former Southern Arizona representatives Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber—that the D.C. establishment is coming together to back Kirkpatrick, who previously represented another competitive Arizona district, the sprawling CD1.
But Matiella, who grew up in Tucson and beat the odds to build a long career as an accountant for the federal government, peaking as a United States Assistant Secretary of the Army in the financial arena during the Obama administration, has picked up her share of endorsements from Southern Arizona Democrats, including Congresswman Raul Grijalva, Pima County Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Richard Elias, Tucson City Councll members Regina Romero and Paul Cunningham.
The other Democrats vying for the nomination are former lawmakers Matt Heinz and Bruce Wheeler and political rookie Billy Kovacs.
Democrats hope to take back Congressional District 2 next year from McSally, who is in her second term. The former A-10 squadron leader is a rising Republican star who has been one of the top fundraisers in Congress, but also represents one of the most competitive seats in the nation. She won her seat by just 167 votes in 2014 when she unseated Barber, but easily cruised to reelection against Heinz last year.