Jim Nintzel at The Tucson Weekly reports Ron Barber Will Announce His 2016 Plans on Zona Politics on Sunday Morning:
Democrat Ron Barber, who lost the closest congressional race in the country last year by 167 votes to freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, will announce whether he’s in for a rematch on Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel, airing this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on KGUN-9.
Zona Politics is taped in advance, so Jim Nintzel already knows what he is teasing with his program promo. Spoiler alert, the Arizona Republic reported this morning that Ron Barber “has reached out to state Rep. Bruce Wheeler, a Democrat who has been exploring a bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat.” This is called a courtesy call; one does not need to make a courtesy call unless one is running for office.
Even the Sierra Vista Herald in an editorial opinion today says “If Ron Barber follows the expected script on Sunday morning, his bid to return to Congress will likely put him in the ring against Republican Martha McSally next November.” OUR VIEW: Prepare yourself.
Are we really going to do this again? Ron Barber has run only one Democratic primary contest: he trounced former state Rep. Matt Heinz in August 2012, running as a short-term incumbent after the June 2012 special election to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in which he handily defeated Republican Jesse Kelly. Barber more narrowly defeated Martha McSally in the November 2012 general election.
In 2014, the Arizona Democratic Party discouraged any Democratic primary, a practice that I do not support. Ron Barber lost to Martha McSally by 167 votes after an automatic recount in a close election, which Barber supporters no doubt would attribute to the Democratic voter midterm election drop-off problem.
I am a firm believer in primaries, they are both necessary and make for a stronger candidate in the November general election. Democratic voters are entitled to have a choice. Having a choice encourages greater voter activism and participation in elections. Democratic voters need a vigorous primary contest in CD 2 in 2016. There should be no effort by party poobahs to discourage a primary in CD2 in the 2016 election.
Hanging over congressional races in Arizona is the pending decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, anticipated in late June.
I fully expect the “Felonious Five” to strike down the congressional districts drawn by the AIRC, and to send congressional district redistricting back to our lawless Arizona Tea-Publican legislature. Whatever redrawn congressional districts emerge from a redistricting process yet to be determined are certain to be challenged in court.
It is not at all certain that all legal appeals will have been exhausted in time for the 2016 election. Under the “Purcell Principle,” i.e., the court will not impose new requirements too close to an election, it is likely that the current congressional districts will remain in place for the 2016 election. (Candidate nominating petitions are due on June 1, 2016, so congressional districts would have to be set well before then). At least this is what Democratic candidates in Arizona are banking on in 2016.