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Kirkpatrick raises big bucks for CD2 run, lands big endorsements

It's been a good couple of weeks for Ann Kirkpatrick, the Democrat who hopes to unseat Republican Martha McSally next year.

The former Arizona congresswoman revealed last week that she had raised $350,000 between getting into the race in mid-July and the end of September.

Kirkpatrick, who represented Arizona's Congressional District 1 until last year (when she stepped down to unsuccessfully challenge Sen. John McCain), will report more than $270,000 cash on hand when she files her FEC report, according to Team Kirkpatrick.

"I am humbled by the outpouring of support, especially from grassroots donors in the first months of the campaign," said Kirkpatrick in a prepared statement. "I am ready to hold Martha McSally accountable for her reckless vote for the deadly Republican healthcare repeal that would kick more than 400,000 Arizonans off of their health coverage. Southern Arizona deserves better."

Kirkpatrick is likely ahead of the other Democrats in the race—retired Pentagon accountant Mary Matiella, former state lawmakers Matt Heinz and Bruce Wheeler and political rookie Billy Kovacs, who all have to file campaign-finance reports by Oct. 15. But she's going to have a harder time keeping up with McSally, who had raised nearly $1.7 million by June 30 of this year. McSally has also been burning through her money quickly, however; at the end of June, she had just under a million dollars left in the bank.

Kirkpatrick got a fundraising boost earlier this week when EMILY's List, the D.C.-based fundraising titan, announced that it was endorsing her in the race over Matiella.

EMILY's 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," she said.

That endorsement comes on the heels of Kirkpatrick landing the endorsement of former Southern Arizona Reps. Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber, the last two Democrats to hold the district between 2006 and 2014.

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 civilian financial arena during the Obama administration), has picked up some major local endorsements of her own. She's the pick of Congressman Raul Grijalva, Pima County Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Richard Elías and Tucson City Council members Regina Romero and Paul Cunningham.

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 she easily cruised to reelection against Heinz last year.

Congressional District 2 continues its 2016 trend of being one of the most competitive in the nation. The DCCC announced last week that it would launch a TV and radio campaign tagging McSally over her healthcare vote.

On the other side of the aisle, House Speaker Paul Ryan's Super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, has set up office in Tucson to boost McSally's fortunes.

All five Democrats are scheduled to attend a forum at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, at Rincon High School, moderated by Skinny scribe Jim Nintzel.

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