Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D)
Elected: 2008, 1st term.
Born: March 14, 1950, McNary .
Education: U. of AZ, B.A. 1972, J.D. 1979..
Family: Married (Roger Curley); 2 children.
Elected office: AZ House, 2004-07.
Professional Career: Coconino dep. co. atty., 1980-81; Pima Co. dep. atty., 1981-85; Practicing atty., 1985-1990; Sedona city atty., 1990-91; Instructor, Coconino Comm. Col., 2005.
The congresswoman from the 1st District is Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, whose 2008 election came after the fall from grace of incumbent Republican Rick Renzi, who was indicted in an alleged extortion scheme.
|Ann Kirkpatrick (D)||155,791||(56%)||($1,997,089)|
|Sydney Hay (R)||109,924||(39%)||($675,723)|
|Brent Maupin (I)||9,394||(3%)||($30,467)|
|Ann Kirkpatrick (D)||26,734||(47%)|
|Mary Titla (D)||18,428||(33%)|
|Howard Shanker (D)||8,056||(14%)|
|Jeffrey Brown (D)||3,376||(6%)|
Kirkpatrick was born on the White Mountain Apache Nation reservation in eastern Arizona and grew up speaking both Apache and English. After earning a law degree from the University of Arizona, she worked as a prosecutor for the Coconino County attorney’s office, specializing in drug crime cases. She later served as the city attorney of Sedona. In 2004, Kirkpatrick ran for the Arizona House of Representatives in state District 2. At the time, conventional wisdom held that a non-Native American could not be elected in the district, where two-thirds of the registered voters were Native Americans. But this did not deter Kirkpatrick from challenging incumbent Rep. Sylvia Laughter, a Navajo and political independent. Kirkpatrick campaigned door-to-door and took advantage of Arizona’s Clean Elections law, which provides candidates with public money if they agree to limit contributions from private donors. Voters responded to her efforts. In her two terms, Kirkpatrick worked to provide Indian tribes with money to build communications infrastructure and lobbied the U.S. Justice Department to rescind state election laws that she contended disenfranchised Native Americans.
When allegations of misconduct by Renzi surfaced in early 2007, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee identified the seat as one of its top targets. Kirkpatrick saw an opportunity. She resigned from the Legislature in July 2007 and began campaigning for the Democratic nomination. Renzi opted not to seek re-election and was eventually indicted for extortion and other charges relating to a land deal that allegedly benefited one of his former business partners.
In addition to help from the DCCC, Kirkpatrick was endorsed by the national fundraising group EMILY’s List. The fundraising prowess that she demonstrated in two state elections and her appeal among rural voters made her a formidable candidate. She won a four-way Democratic primary with 47% of the vote, and the DCCC reserved $1.7 million for advertising for the fall campaign.
On the Republican side, the national and state parties were unable to convince former state Senate President Ken Bennett or state Rep. Bill Konopnicki to get into the race. Anti-tax activist Sydney Hay became the frontrunner for the nomination, but she barely defeated former State Department employee Sandra Livingstone in the Republican primary. The Arizona GOP opted not to aid Hay’s campaign. In the general election campaign, Kirkpatrick outspent her 3-to-1. In a swing district that voted for both President Bush and Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, Kirkpatrick’s more moderate views resonated with voters. She carried six of the district’s eight counties and soundly defeated Hay 56% to 39%.
In the House, Kirkpatrick got seats on the Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Small Business committees. She said her priority is improving infrastructure in her district, including expanding basic services such as electricity, running water, telephone and Internet access.