Kirkpatrick wants to give McCain the boot
Phoenix's Miranda says she'll explore congressional run
An experienced Democratic campaigner said Tuesday that she'll challenge U.S. Sen. John McCain in 2016. Ann Kirkpatrick, whose sprawling CD 1 stretches from the Grand Canyon to Oro Valley, made her announcement in an online video featuring the boots she used to kick back at GOP pokes as she was reelected last year.
"I respect John McCain's service to our nation; I just believe our state's changing," she said.
The Northern Arizona politician was first elected to Congress in 2008, but lost her seat in 2010. She won it back in 2012 after redistricting, and voters returned her for a third term last November.
The 2014 race was eyed by Republicans as a possible pickup, but Kirkpatrick easily bested former state House Speaker Andy Tobin in the end.
A GOP campaign ad in that race showed a pair of legs ending in high heels, standing in for Kirkpatrick, next to a suitcase depicting President Barack Obama's "baggage." Kirkpatrick used her brown cowboy boots, which she purchased when she was 18, to slyly two-step charges by supporters that the Republican attack was sexist.
Instead, she donned them prominently to represent her claims to be an authentic representative of rural Arizona — something she did again in the ad released Tuesday, as she stomps the dirt to display grit in a shot replayed from prior ads.
"Having grown up here, a little bit of mud on my boots is part of life," she said.
While McCain has polled poorly among right-wing Republicans and may face a primary challenge, his fundraising abilities and a GOP desire to keep the Senate seat likely mean Kirkpatrick's video won't be the last bit of dirt we see in the contest.
U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Tempe Democrat, has also been laying the groundwork for a Senate campaign.
State Sen. Catherine Miranda, who angered many Democrats by endorsing Gov. Doug Ducey's run for office, said Tuesday that she would strongly consider a run for Kirkpatrick's seat.
Miranda lives outside the boundaries of CD 1, in south Phoenix.