Dems, GOP plot strategies in Arizona’s CD2 race

With Democratic enthusiasm surging, record-breaking turnout might come to Arizona’s Second Congressional District midterm election, said Ron Barber, a former holder of the seat.

“If that kind of energy continues, I think we’re going to have a different kind of midyear voter turnout,” Barber said.

The seat is held by Rep. Martha McSally, who is running for U.S. Senate.

Arizona’s Second Congressional District includes the eastside of Pima County and Cochise County, and is considered a battleground race.

Seven Democrats are campaigning for the seat: Ann Kirkpatrick, former member of the U.S. House; Billy Kovacs, local entrepreneur and co-founder of “Prep & Pastry”; Mary Matiella, former assistant secretary of the Army Financial Management and Comptroller; Bruce Wheeler, former member of the Arizona House of Representatives; Barbara Sherry, a rancher from McNeal; Matt Heinz, a physician at Tucson Medical Center and former member of the Arizona House of Representatives; and William Foster.

Lea Márquez-Peterson, president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is running as the Republican candidate.

Even though Arizona is a Republican state, the district is split three ways, Barber said, which usually makes for a tight race. Cochise County is more conservative and the eastside of Pima County is centrist, or center-left, he said. Typically, a Democratic candidate tries to narrow their loss in Cochise. One way to bridge the gap is to push for a big turnout in towns like Douglas or Bisbee, focusing on how to win liberal votes in a conservative area.

Both counties are evenly divided, according to the latest state statistics. Cochise County residents lean conservative: 39 percent Republican, 35 percent Independent and 26 percent Democratic. While Pima County voters are more liberal: 38 percent Democratic, 32 percent Independent and 30 percent Republican.

But turnout slumped in the district during the last three midterm elections.

Read the entire article via the Arizona Sonora News Service. Originally published Feb. 14, 2018.

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