Chastened, a Data-Driven Matt Heinz Wants Another Shot at McSally

Matt Heinz addressing Democratic precinct captains in Sept. 2016
Matt Heinz addressing Democratic precinct captains in September 2016.

After a resounding loss in 2016, Matt Heinz is running again in Tucson’s Congressional District 2, hoping that data, dollars and good publicity will help him beat incumbent Martha McSally.

A doctor and former AZ state representative (2009-2013), Heinz is doing the nuts-and-bolts work of planning to appear at 120 house parties and calling Democratic precinct captains like me.

A physician since 2003, his key issue is health care and making sure that Americans have health insurance. In contrast, McSally eagerly voted to end health insurance for 22 million people, telling her GOP colleagues, let’s get this “fucking thing” done.

Last April Heinz left an overnight shift at Tucson Medical Center on two hours sleep to speak at a health care forum in Green Valley. “I spent 45 minutes answering excellent questions. People asked if I would run again,” he says. His patients at Tucson Medical Center are also pressing him to run.

“I don’t bring up politics with my patients. But I was treating a woman who was actively having a heart attack. She said, ‘I’m a Republican from Vail and I voted for you.’ She closed the conversation by saying, ‘It was worth having this heart attack to meet you.'”

Data and donations

Heinz commissioned a survey by Public Policy Polling that showed McSally is vulnerable. Fully 56% of voters in District 2 said they were less likely to vote for McSally because of her hideous vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The survey of 944 voters said a whopping 53% disapproved of McSally’s job performance and only 40% approved.

It also showed that if the election were held today, Heinz would garner 48% of the vote compared with McSally at 44%. The data inspired Heinz to seek another shot at McSally.

“This made me realize that I had to run for Congress,” he says. “It shows there is a pathway to win the general election.”

A follow-up PPP poll on June 20 found that he pulls in the support of 40% of Democratic primary voters in the district, while carpetbagger Ann Kirkpatrick gets 30%.

Congressional District 2

Of course, polling also predicted that Hillary Clinton would be elected President. The reality is that McSally clobbered him in 2016 with 57% of the vote, compared with 43% for Heinz. McSally also sucked from the bowels of dark money to raise $8.2 million to run against Heinz, compared with the $1.6 million he raised.

This caused the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to abandon him in 2016, a fact that leaves him chastened. So far Heinz says he’s raised $200,000 in donations, but McSally already has $764,862.

But Heinz says he has other guns in his arsenal, including a 200,000-person email list and a nationwide LGBT support network he can tap into.

“I can talk to people in New York and San Francisco who will support me. It’s a big deal being able to call in that interest nationally,” he says.

Face-to-face campaigning

He also has the glow of favorable publicity from the influential Daily Kos blog, which has published every press release Heinz sends in.

At age 40, he’s in the middle of the pack of Democratic candidates for Congress, who range in age from 30 to 68.

Heinz says this time he’ll make time to for face-to-face campaigning after Democrats criticized him for failing to run an in-person campaign in 2016,

“Going forward, I can work 10, 5 or 2 shifts per month at the hospital,” he says. “I can dial down my medical practice when I need to and I’ll be doing that to maximize my ability to meet people.”

“The personal touch is how I won my legislative race in 2008,” he says.

And he says he can rebut McSally’s pandering to veterans. (Her July 6 email falsely claims she got funding for the A-10 airplane at Davis-Monthan, when voters should know it was the Army that saved it — not her.)

“I’m not going to let her play the veteran card. I say, ‘thank you for your service,’ but now the people of Southern Arizona need job creation and healthcare. And voting to take health care away is not good for the district,” he says.

Besides, ex-colonel McSally is reportedly an idiot in meetings with generals and admirals who outrank her, interrupting them and talking over them.

“She’s like a hummingbird on caffeine,” Heinz says.

You can support Matt Heinz at


  1. Heinz had his shot and totally missed the mark. Quite possibly the worst campaign I’ve witnessed since I started voting in 1965. Time for new blood. My current favorite is Jeff Latas.

  2. I would like to know more about why the DCCC abandoned Matt Heinz in 2016. I’ve heard this before, but never with a good explanation. There has to be more there than just McSally raising so much money.

    This Democrats could win this district and probably could have in 2016, in my opinion, given it was a presidential election year. But is the DCCC going to decide on their own which candidates are worthy of support? How do they decide?

    McSally will more than likely have a lot of money behind her again. But she can’t buy her way out of her voting record which to date is 97.3 percent in favor of Trump/Ryan including the vote to repeal the ACA and replace it with a tax cut for the wealthy. And getting so excited about it she felt compelled to fire up her GOP cohorts by shouting “Let’s get this f****** thing done”. That one instance of that vote combined with such despicable behavior really should be enough to get rid of her and elect someone who will represent the people of the district. Seriously, how many billionaires and multi-millionaires are there in CD2 who will benefit from her Trump votes?

    • Someone explain what it is McSally is doing with her hands in the picture? Is that something they teach in Communications 101, effective hand gestures or whatever?

  3. according to an earlier post the congressional district is nearly 50% latino. ( I don’t live down there so I am having to take this as a fact) why should latinos vote for another gringo? don’t any latina veterans live in the district? what does matt heinz say when veterans living in the district ask him what branch of the service did you join after 9-11 to defend the country? most democratic candidates find talking to the average voter difficult at best as white voters don’t trust democrats unless they are screened for white liberals and minority democrats would rather vote for one of their own but have to vote for a white liberal elitist to protect themselves from republicans as they did in the primaries and general election thinking clinton was the safe choice. remember the average arizonian hates the media, clinton and pelosi more then they hate trump! hopefully the district has been gerrymandered enough to protect the democratic candidate from this.

    • I was thinking of writing a point by point rebuttal but there is so much nonsense in this comment that I decided not to waste time.

      • It seemed okay to me until this, which is at the very end: “Besides, ex-colonel McSally is reportedly an idiot in meetings with generals and admirals…”.

        I’m wondering why you think it is all nonsense?

      • Okay, nevermind, I get it. You were replying to Censored. I was thinking about the original post when I read your comment.

        I’m slow today. Bad headache this AM because of high pressure moving out.

      • bill I would like you to waste time explaining why the average arizonian hates trump more the they hate the media, clinton and pelosi ;but I don’t think you can. its the same with michael moore when he agrees with you he is great when he doesn’t he is a heretic! my other points would be difficult for you to refute also. saying its nonsense is nonsense.

        • censored (By the way you why don’t you use your name?);
          OK, you got me to respond but I’ going to limit myself to just the first bit of nonsense. You say ” I don’t live down there so I am having to take this as a fact”. It’s nonsense to think you have to live in a place to know when a statement about that place is factual! My guess is you don’t live in France but you believe most of those who do live there are French.

          • I didn’t think you could refute my arguments. I got censored here sometime ago so I use censored. I could have used voltaire who said “I disagree with every word you say ;but will defend to the death your right to say it!” just before he was poisoned.

  4. McSally has to go but I believe that we need new blood to run against McSally – someone that already has lost to her will not get my vote. The democratic party really needs to get its act together – and understand why their candidates lost and create winning strategies if they have that ability.

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