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Engel announces repeat congressional run in Az's CD 6

Engel announces repeat congressional run in Az's CD 6

Dem looks to challenge Republican for Southern Arizona seat

  • Engel on election night.
    Bianca Morales/TucsonSentinel.comEngel on election night.
  • Ciscomani on election night.
    Bennito L. Kelty/TucsonSentinel.comCiscomani on election night.

Kirsten Engel, the Democrat who lost a close race last year to represent Southern Arizona in Congress, said Wednesday she'll be back in the hunt again in 2024.

U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani won the 2022 election, with the Republican garnering about 5,000 more votes across the district to fill the open seat. CD 6 stretches from Pinal County through about half of metro Tucson, and includes most of Cochise County other than Douglas.

Engel "looks to finish the job" in the next election, her campaign said. Republican operatives fired back that she is a "failed Democrat (sic) candidate."

While the freshman Republican has repeatedly worked to associate his election narrative with the American Dream, Engel said in her announcement that "for so many of us, the American Dream keeps falling further and further out of reach."

"And what are Juan Ciscomani and the Republican Congress doing? Rolling back women's rights, ignoring climate change, and putting big corporations ahead of working families and small businesses," Engel said. "I won't stand by and let Juan Ciscomani take us backwards."

The GOP said that "Southern Arizona voters rejected extreme liberal Kirsten Engel just five months ago."

"Engel will lose again because her dangerous agenda of defunding the police, raising taxes and supporting open borders are (sic) far out of the mainstream," National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Ben Petersen said in a press release.

Engel noted that "we came damn close last time," saying that CD 6 has been added to the Democrats' national "Districts in Play" list.

The Democrat — a former state senator who was seeking to replace ex-U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in Congress — was outspent heavily in the 2022 election; Engel says by a 6-1 ratio.

That gap was largely due to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee focusing efforts elsewhere, rather than investing what for years has been a hard-fought battleground district.

While her campaign raised more than $2.4 million, spending by outside groups for the GOP candidate swamped Engel's fundraising. She spent nearly her entire war chest, reporting just $1,305 remaining in March, with debts of $518.

Even so, the race between the two candidates was tight enough that it took a week after Election Day for the Tucson Sentinel and other news outlets to call the outcome.

That narrow margin "proved that she is the candidate who can win this tough swing seat," Engel's campaign said Wednesday.

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