Ann Kirkpatrick is Front Runner at Candidates Forum for Tucson’s Congressman

Tucson congressional candidates Mary Matiella, Matt Heinz, Barbara Sherry, Bruce Wheeler, Ann Kirkpatrick and Bill Kovacs unanimously raise their hands in favor of supporting renewable energy.

Former Congressman Ann Kirkpatrick emerged as the Democratic candidate with the best chance to be elected to Congress in Tucson at a candidates forum watched by 400 people Sunday in Green Valley.

I’ve studied and met all the candidates and heard them three times at previous candidate forums. My conclusion is that Kirkpatrick has the Congressional experience, common-sense positions, and key political backing to beat the upcoming river of poisonous money from the Koch brothers during this year’s elections.

The Democrat who wins the August 28 primary will likely oppose Lea Márquez-Peterson, a Republican who is closely linked to Kochbot Gov. Doug Ducey. She operates several Hispanic chambers of commerce and is noted for her business bankruptcies.

Knows the job & has support

Kirkpatrick knows the job, having served in Congress from 2013 to 2017 in northern Arizona. Impressively, she has raised a record $750,000 in the campaign’s first five months, with $465,000 cash on hand. She has the endorsement of former Congress members Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber, and she has the backing of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

She disagreed with all the other candidates on the subject of Medicare for All, an idea that Progressives cheer but which has no known funding source. “I don’t support Medicare for all in a single-payer system because I don’t see a way to pay for it all,” she said, noting that 140 million people already get health insurance from their employers. However, she said people should be able to buy into Medicare especially when there is no reasonable option to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Regarding gun safety, Kirkpatrick says she has changed her position. Nine years ago she had an “A” rating from the NRA, but in 2016 she was given a “D” rating by the gun lobby.

“I have a record in Congress to ban gun violence. I voted to strengthen background checks, to close down the gun show loophole, to stop people on the terrorist watch list from getting guns, to stop stalkers and domestic abusers from getting guns,” she said. “That’s why Gabby Giffords endorsed me.” Giffords was shot in 2011 but survived and co-founded the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“We can beat the NRA. We can ban assault weapons and make it harder for people to get weapons of war,” she said, adding that she belongs to
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Matt Heinz released a two-page platform for gun safety. However, I can’t take his candidacy seriously because he lost against Martha McSally by a massive 44,000 votes in the 2016 race for Congress.

Kirkpatrick said she will support Medicare and Social Security. “They are not entitlements,” she said. “They are earned benefits.”

Wheeler noted that Republicans will attack the programs when they try to pay for their $1.5 trillion tax cut for corporations. I thought Bruce Wheeler had a good grasp of the issues and solid positions, but he has raised only $11,355 for his campaign, making me doubt he has widespread support or the resources for a successful campaign.

Kirkpatrick opposes a border wall and said Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform that allows legal entry so that the border patrol can instead focus on criminals. “The border is only safe and secure when the ranchers who live on the border feel it’s safe and secure,” she said.

Mary Matiella called for a pathway to citizenship for the DACA Dreamers. She has a 34-year background as an executive in the federal government that qualifies her to be a department head — and she has not held elected office.

Regarding Arizona’s military bases, Kirkpatrick said she co-sponsored legislation to save the A- 10 training mission, but added that “the future of our security is cybersecurity not boots on the ground.” She first visited Afghanistan in 2009 and agreed that the US should get out of the 17-year war.

Kovacs emphasized that the US should rely more on diplomacy rather than military power. At age 30, he is handsome, tall and has studied well to learn the issues. However, I wish he had run for city council or the county supervisors first.

Towards the end, ex-rancher Barbara Sherry began rambling incoherently about training plumbers, artificial intelligence, “China will crush us,” there are now 17 vineyards, fine particles from military jets that destroy people’s lungs, and entrepreneurship. “We can do this!” she said without specifying anything.

She should drop out of the race now before she embarrasses herself more.

In conclusion, Kirkpatrick emphasized three issues:

  1. Building a world-class education system in Arizona. The state is Arizona is currently dead last nationwide in elementary school teacher pay and 49th in the country for secondary school teacher pay.
  2. Passing comprehensive immigration reform.  There are some 11 million immigrants in the United States who are here unlawfully.
  3. Raising the minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and has not increased since July 2009. Republican Lea Márquez-Peterson led the Koch-funded battle against the minimum wage, which just rose to rose to $10.50 on Jan. 1 in Arizona.

And Kirkpatrick emphasized the goal for all Democrats to achieve: taking back the Congressional seat in District 2.


    • Mother Jones is spot on about Ann Kirkpatrick’s flip flopping views on gun control.

  1. If Ann Kirkpatrick says there is no revenue stream for Single Payer Healthcare then she won’t find one. It’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps she has heard of the so-called Robin Hood Tax, a very small tax of one-half of 1% or less on stock market transactions that adds up to very big money. It could fund health care, education, anti-poverty programs and much more.
    Changing one’s stand on gun safety regulation only after an attack on a friend is searingly insulting to every family and every victim of gun violence who was not a friend or acquaintance of Ann Kirkpatrick. In 2009 she welcomed the NRA convention to Phoenix. I suspect that it is possible to support the “right to bear arms” without embracing an organization as despicable as the NRA.
    A change of heart on Oak Flat is way too late. Just ask Apache tribal leader Wendsler Nosie.
    As for Billy Kovaks getting votes because he is handsome-how would that work if pundits were to say a female candidate is garnering support because she is attractive or beautiful or glamorous. Sexism works both ways.
    I won’t be voting for Ann Kirkpatrick. I prefer my candidates to have principles that are a little less flexible than hers appear to be.

    • “Changing one’s stand on gun safety regulation only after an attack on a friend is searingly insulting to every family and every victim of gun violence who was not a friend or acquaintance of Ann Kirkpatrick.”

      I agree with you. But, sadly, I think this is true for many people. The difference is that Ann Kirkpatrick was an elected representative.

      I remember when public opinion really started to turn against the Vietnam War. By the late sixties, almost everyone knew someone or was related to someone who had been killed or maimed or was seriously messed up in the head. It took a hell of a long time and a massive amount of death and carnage to overcome most of that “my country right or wrong” way of thinking.

      So, it might even be true that Ann K. changed her mind about innocent people being shot and killed or mutilated after it happened to someone she knew. Apparently, she is unable to imagine what that is like for people she doesn’t know. It sounds absurd, that is essentially what she said.

      It could also be Ann K. coming up with an explanation for changing her position that she believes has some credibility with voters. It’s not like she can say, “I have no principles and I take the position that is most politically expedient for the race I’m trying to win”.

      Either way, I wish she go back where she came from. I think CD2 deserves better, particularly after suffering through McSally.

  2. Quoting: She disagreed with all the other candidates on the subject of Medicare for All, an idea that Progressives cheer but which has no known funding source. “I don’t support Medicare for all in a single-payer system because I don’t see a way to pay for it all,” she said, noting that 140 million people already get health insurance from their employers. However, she said people should be able to buy into Medicare especially when there is no reasonable option to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. END QUOTE

    Just because Kirkpatrick cannot see the solution does not mean that one does not exist. Well, try this Medicare for All pimer from Andrea Witte:

    The thing is there are solutions out there for most of our problems and all that remains is for us to have the guts to implement them. As another example, the whole gun debate revolves around half-measures (from moderates focusing on better mental health care) or no-measures (from Trumpians focusing on “hardening” our schools). All that blames the victims and avoids the ultimate cause – the prevalence of weaponized firearms in our society. If you think otherwise, consider the solutions implemented by Australia and New Zealand. Both countries experienced school shootings and both stopped it cold. We could do the same. Ban assault weapons. Make them illegal. Confiscate them – or buy them back. Get rid of the assault weapons and you get rid of mass shootings.

    So long as we let fear of Trump and GOP dictate our Democratic policies and actions we will deservedly be a second-rate political party.

  3. I would not be surprised to see a Democrat running as an Independent and being a spoiler. It’s not happening in CD2 but it could–and it will probably happen somewhere else. Independent voters are gaining in number while both GOP and Dems are losing registered voters. Dems are tired of the DCCC playing favorites in the primary. If it happened, it would hand the race over to the GOP. Just sayin’

  4. I find the fact that Kirkpatrick stretched the truth in describing her change of heart and positions on gun control troubling in the least. She stated that she changed her mind “after Gabby was shot”. Gabby Giffords was shot 1/8/2011. And yet Ann maintained her NRA “A” rating for an additional 18 months.
    “Kirkpatrick was the only Congressional Democrat in Arizona to receive an “A” rating from the NRA in the last decade which she maintained through Fall 2012.” [The Arizona Republic April 5, 2013. Final Chaser Edition. “Arizona’s Gun Divide.”]
    I will not support a candidate who moves with the way she thinks the winds are going. I want a candidate who has the integrity to put forward positions even if it will cost them some support. I want a candidate who is truthful.

  5. Cory Booker‏Verified account

    “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”
    ― James Baldwin

    4:19 PM – 25 Feb 2018

  6. Got to tell you, at my advanced age I do not vote for people based on their endorsements by other politicians. I make up my own mind. TV ads can turn me off a candidate, but seldom turn me on to one. I read the articles, try to attend the forums, or view the livestreams or videos of them if I can’t. I am impressed most by those who use their feet to get to the voters. And I am seldom a single-issue voter.

  7. Interesting comments on this thread.

    I think what needs to be taken into consideration is that the dynamics of the CD2 race changed significantly when the incumbent McSally decided to run for the Flake’s seat in the Senate.

    If the Democrats were facing an incumbent, it is understandable that the DCCC would back the experienced politician with name recognition, fund raising capability, and a large base of support. It is presumed to be the safe choice in the absence of other well known candidates with similar assets.
    And I do believe that if their chosen candidate fits the “who can win” profile, the issues become secondary to the Democratic leadership.

    The problem, of course, is that the issues matter to the electorate. But the electorate doesn’t get much of an opportunity to hear from candidates who do not have the funding to advance their campaigns. And an incumbent fund raising gorilla like McSally (who would take money from the Devil) can make the general election about anything other than democratic issues.

    But there is no incumbent. It would seem that this would be an opportunity for a more competitive race that is focused on voter issues and concerns in this congressional district.

    It’s time for the Democratic leadership to stop being afraid of the GOP. There are ways to promote new candidates and new ideas in these swing districts with a lot of hard work and an understanding of the constituency. It doesn’t have to be pick the “safe” candidate and ram him or her down the throats of the voters every election.

    Good grief, look at these kids from Parkland, Florida, out there doing what the adults have failed to do. This is a sign, folks. It could not be more clear that the times they are a changin’. Again.

    Quite frankly, I’m not impressed with Ann Kirkpatrick. Never have been. And I’d like to hear more from Mary Matiella and Billy Kovacs.

    The Democratic leadership needs to stop using fear as their single motivating force in deciding who can win elections.

    Fear is a liar.

  8. Actually I’ve met a few women voters who told me they’ll vote for Kovacs because he is handsome. Let the voters of CD 2 decide on Aug. 28 in the Dem primary. Here’s the latest CD2 registration #s: Dems 115,572, Independents 98,013.

  9. I would like to mention another Democratic congressional candidate who may not be as liberal as Ann Kirkpatrick but who deserves the support of Democrats who would rather fight Trump and Trumpism than masturbate in public. Conor Lamb is running in a special election March 13th in southwestern Pennsylvania. You can donate to his campaign here

  10. NO BOB, you are impressed. Ron Barber is a loser, he gave us McSully. Gabby also embraced Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a corrupt and disgraced politician. GIVE ME A BREAK!

    • I can’t believe I have to explain here, but if you read my other comments, you might gather that the comment to which you replied was sarcastic. Jeez

  11. DEB is 100% correct. She was lousy when she was previously in Congress. She lost. She is being shoved down our throats by the DCCC, Giffords and the rest of the machine, who decided to send a team to AZ to run the primaries. SHE did not show up for the DACA vote and moved to Tucson so she could run for this seat. SAME situation from the Democratic machine as with HRC & Bernie. We need to win and she isn’t the one to bring home the victory. STOP TELLING US WHO IS front-runner.Maybe for you, she is, but don’t declare this as a GIVEN! WE ARE SICK OF THIS!

  12. No money for healthcare for all, but Kilpatrick is OK with outrageous military budget, US troops in 149 countries, foreign military interventions.

    Kilpatrick still supports automatic weapons to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Loves the idea of 30 round clips so the ‘hunters” can shoot Bambi. After the killing of 50 in Orlando, she sent her ‘thoughts.’

    Kilpatrick voted against clean energy when in Congress.

    It is nice that the “establishment” democrats like her and give her money. But given the challenges of the present administrations, she is deficient in taking the issues to the people. She does not say one word about the transfer of America’s wealth to the billionaires, not one word on the roll back of environmental protections, not one word on military budget, not one word on ten million immigrants, not one word about rampant sexual assaults of Trump, not one work on economic protections.

    Just another democrat who is more interested in winning that serving the people of Arizona.

    • Tim, I’m not sure where you get your facts. Kirkpatrick voted for the Affordable Care Act – were you aware of that? I also did a Google search and couldn’t find any statements of support by Kirkpatrick for the endless war in Afghanistan and foreign military interventions. What is you source for this statement?

    • I would suggest that you re-read your original post in the clear light of day. Support whichever candidate you choose, but your dismissive and snide words about the other candidates, while painting a 100 per cent rosy picture of your favorite, is not credible.
      I’m not inclined to get into a conversation, because you may be willing to go to any stretch of the imagination to promote Ann Kirkpatrick. I will say this regarding this fall’s CD2 Congressional race pitting a Democrat against Lea Marquez Peterson. The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of which Ms. Peterson is CEO, over the last few years has established a presence in Cochise County in Douglas and Sierra Vista. Hence, Lea Marquez Peterson has made inroads in Cochise County. The Democratic nominee will have to work hard to meet voters in Cochise County and to address their issues. Mary Matiella is already doing that.
      Lea Marquez Peterson has fully aligned herself with Martha McSally’s stands (though McSally’s stands are flexible, just like other veteran politicians). Martha McSally is afraid to face her constituents and seems to take orders from Donald Trump. Yes, a strong, fresh candidate like Mary Matiella can run hard against Lea Marquez Peterson and the Koch Brothers and win.

        • Although you say that you are not carrying the water for any particular candidate, you must have known that your post would be tweeted and retweeted and spread on social media. Yes, each individual can take your analysis for what it’s worth, but your marketing of one candidate is very clever.
          For instance, have a look at Dave Chase’s twitter feed. He is Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign manager. He retweeted Pam Hannley Powers’ tweet of your headline and a link to your post. He also tweeted a link to your “great read” and copied a couple of paragraphs.
          Out of curiosity, I read through Dave Chase’s twitter feed and was struck by his tone, considering that he works for a congressional candidate. For instance:
          Dave Chase
          Feb 23

          IT MEANS “OUT OF MANY, ONE.”

          Donald J. Trump
          Verified account

          Our nation’s motto is IN GOD WE TRUST. This week, our nation lost an incredible leader who devoted his life to helping us understand what those words really mean. We will never forget the historic crowds, the voice, the…

          Dave Chase may be like Donald Trump when it comes to impulsive tweeting. Ann Kirkpatrick may have to take his device away.
          Larry, although you earlier posted more detailed information on the other candidates, your post declaring Ann Kirkpatrick as the frontrunner eclipsed those. It would be easier for Ann if the other candidates packed their bags and went home, but the campaign will continue in earnest.

    • If your concern is about money, you’re mistaken. The D-trip may favor Ann because she makes the race less expensive for them and their national donors, but if Mary or Billy wins the primary, the money will be there for the general.

      If anything, you should be concerned in the other direction. Ann has six years’ worth of votes and public statements for the Koch machine to take out of context and attack.

      • Don’t think so Bob. The DCCC has a history of walking away from a race when their candidate doesn’t win the primary.

          • It’s not idiocy, it’s the way the DCCC is set up. The DCCC leadership mainly backs candidates who are either ex-Republicans or self-funders who may be socially liberal to some extent but other than that are no different from the Republicans. Who frequently cross the aisle to vote against legislation that embodies what the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for. Which fuels the false notion that there’s no difference between the parties, much to the Nation’s detriment. Also, if voters are given a choice between a Republican and Republican Lite, the Republican wins the majority of the time.

            The DCCC is also a consultant racket. If you accept DCCC support then you also have to use their consultants. Consultants who have usually backed losing candidates. Like Ron Barber. Instead of focusing resources on the ground, the DCCC buys tons of airtime for their ads. No coincidence that the consultants who push the ads collect a commission of the cost which is quite an incentive. As one Republican (don’t remember who) once said, in amazement: When our consultants lose we take them out back and shoot them. You guys keep hiring the same ones over and over!”

            So, if one of their candidates loses then the DCCC withdraws their support leaving the Democratic primary winner hanging.

            The consequences are reflected in the record. Rahm Emanuel presided over the DCCC in 2008, got a lot of Blue Dogs/New Dems/Conservadems elected in that wave election. In 2010 the House majority was lost, a large factor was the Blue Dogs, etc., crossing the aisle too many times, to which many Democratic voters decided to stay home. Same in 2012, 2014, & 2016. If the Democrats run Republican light this cycle the Blue Wave may not be enough. And our Democracy may be irretrievably screwed.

            I can’t point to any particular post on Howie Klein’s (the guy behind Blue America) blog because these are themes he returns to time and time again but he’s worth at least a daily visit:

    • I agree with Debbie. Your obvious bias toward Kirkpatrick led you to incorrect assumptions about the audience. Seated in the back, my perception was that the audience favored anyone but Ann.
      Your snide comments about the other candidates sound much like the current WH occupant and says more about you than them.

  13. It would be highly recommended that readers of this blog do their own research into the CD2 candidates for the Democratic nomination. The writer ignores several inconsistencies in his candidate’s presentation today. If Ann Kirkpatrick supports Raul Grijalva’s bill to protect Oak Flat, it is a radical change from her stand in Congress from CD1. Also, she supports a Constitutional amendment for term limits, but she has had three terms and has moved the length of the state to a new district seeking a fourth.
    Describing a candidate as handsome and diminishing another’s lengthy career with a snide comment make one wonder how well the writer knows this well-informed audience.
    I have heard Mary Matiella speak at length on several occasions. She is well versed on issues important to CD2 constituents, including taking care of veterans, healthcare, climate change, immigration and border issues and the military. She is the child of migrant laborers who earned multiple degrees and achieved high ranking positions in the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Army. She is travelling throughout the district, visiting towns like Douglas where candidates rarely show up to meet voters.
    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee can pick and fund its favorites, but this country is pulsing from the energy of grassroots campaigns.

    • Thanks for posting this, Debbie. Since I’m the only writer here from Maricopa, I thought I’d stay out of this fray, other than express my mild annoyance in the form of a snide comment. Your comment, however, seems spot on to me. I glossed over the “handsome” passage when I read the post, probably because I found the following sentence, about Kovacs making a great staff person, so stunningly condescending. I can only imagine how millennials would react to the writer’s “get some experience first, Johnny” attitude towards Kovacs. But, yeah, referring to a candidate as handsome is stunning as well.

      How this plays out means so much in the big picture. The writer here betrays a staid mindset when he focuses first and foremost on Kirkpatrick’s money raising and DCCC endorsement as the reason to support her above the other candidates. You conclude by suggesting that mindset is about to get swept aside by a wave of grass roots enthusiasm. Regardless of how this particular race plays out (Ann is a personal friend so I’m not all that opposed to her as perhaps I should be based on issues), if the writer’s mindset prevails over yours, the prospects for the future will be dim.

  14. “Impressively, she has raised a record $750,000 in the campaign’s first five months, with $465,000 cash on hand. She has the endorsement of former Congress members Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber, and she has the backing of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

    Yep, we’re all impressed. Thanks!!!

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