CD8: More Tea Leaves & National Rankings

More tea leaves in Congressional District 8, where Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is facing a challenge from Republican Jesse Kelly.

Congressional District 8 didn’t make it onto the “Fix 50”—a round-up of the 50 most competitive House races in the country by Chris Cillizza of The Fix, a Washington Post blog. (Earlier this year, Cillizza’s readers voted for Congressional District 8 as a race they wanted The Fix to focus, but Cliizza has neglected Southern Arizona over the campaign season.)

You'll find the Fix 50 here.

CD8 has also dropped in the National Journal’s listing of competitive seats, from No. 34 to No. 51. The Journal's take:

Dems believe Iraq vet Jesse Kelly (R)—who took out the favored Republican in the primary—is too conservative for this marginal CD. But that should be small comfort to Giffords, who faces an environment in Arizona that is shifting heavily to the GOP this cycle.

Anne Hilby, spokeswoman for Team Giffords, says that the drop in rankings shows that national pundits don’t believe Kelly’s message will resonate with CD8 voters.

"Jesse Kelly's calls to eliminate Social Security, eliminate Medicare, eliminate the minimum wage, eliminate the corporate income tax and establish a 23 percent sales tax that raises taxes on 80 percent of Arizonans would be devastating for working families and seniors,” Hilby said in an e-mail. “It’s clear that Kelly's priority is his own radical political agenda, not serving Southern Arizona. One after another, voters and analysts are rejecting his dangerous and out of touch positions."

But Kelly dismissed the rankings as irrelevant in an e-mail to The Range.

"The voters of Southern Arizona are more concerned that Giffords voted to cut $500 billion from Medicare and that Giffords bailed out Wall Street than they are with what some Washington, D.C., paper thinks," Kelly says.

Clearly, Medicare reform is big in the messaging these days.

More tea leaves here.