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Matiella joins Dems seeking to challenge McSally

Although she's been lining up support for quite some time, former Assistant Army Secretary Mary Matiella has filed campaign paperwork and publicly announced that she's joining the jockeying field of Democrats looking to run against GOP Rep. Martha McSally.

While the field is crowded with both candidates from previous races and political newcomers, Matiella has lined up some local Democratic heavy-hitters to back her, including campaign chair Bill Roe and treasurer Ann Nichols.

Matiella filed her campaign paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, and is due to make a public appearance before Tucson Democrats on Monday.

Matiella touted her career as a government financial analyst in announcing her campaign.

"My work and leadership focus has always been that the taxpayer's dollar is well accounted for," she said. "Other people may talk about cutting waste and transparency – I can tell you not only do I understand these tasks from first-hand experience, but I have the skills and drive to ensure that the people of the 2nd Congressional District have a knowledgeable advocate on their side representing their interests."

Matiella, who generally goes by "Mary Sally Matiella," has dropped the "Sally" in her campaign materials.

"There was some concern that people might be confused between 'Mary Sally' and 'McSally,'" campaign spokesman Adam Kinsey said. "But when people get to know her, there won't be any confusion about what Mary Matiella stands for."

Matiella, a University of Arizona graduate with a BA in Education and an MBA from the Eller College, served as an assistant secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller from 2010 to 2014; a position that is the civilian equivalent of a four-star general. She earned a doctorate from George Washington University while working in Washington, D.C.

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She had previously worked in the Pentagon for the Undersecretary of Defense in 1999, after stint as an accounting director for the Air Force.

Matiella also worked as the chief financial office for the U.S. Forest Service, and as the assistant CFO for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Tucson native — the third of six children in a family of migrant farm workers — is married to an Air Force veteran, Francisco Matiella.

"I've always felt Southern Arizona built my values and contributed so much to the woman I've become; a woman that believes in equal opportunity, and even more, believes in equity," Matiella said. "Now it's my time to serve Southern Arizona directly."

Also in the race for 2018 are Matt Heinz, who lost to McSally in November 2016, as well as political newcomer Billy Kovacs, geologist Alison Jones, pilot and Air Force vet Jeff Latas (who lost to Gabrielle Giffords in the 2006 Democratic primary that sent her on to Congress), small business owner Charlie Verdin,  and former state representative Bruce Wheeler (who's tossed his hat into the CD2 ring only to pull it back out before).

Poised to jump into the race is Ann Kirkpatrick, the former CD 1 congresswoman who lost the U.S. Senate race to John McCain last year. Former U.S. Rep. Ron Barber has been working to build support for Kirkpatrick, who recently moved to Tucson to lay the foundation for a run here.

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1 comment on this story

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Jun 21, 2017, 9:28 am
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Personally, I would prefer Matiella who is from Southern AZ and has a great background to run rather than a retread like Kirkpatrick. The Democratic Party needs to get rid of the Old Guard and bring in newer blood. Had they allowed Bernie to run I think we would have won.

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Mary Matiella