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Former GOP Sedona lawmaker running for CD 1 as a Dem
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Former GOP Sedona lawmaker running for CD 1 as a Dem

  • Tom O'Halleran
    campaign photoTom O'Halleran

A former Republican legislator from Sedona wants to go to Congress, representing Arizona's sprawling CD 1 as a Democrat. Tom O'Halleran, a retired Chicago cop and member of the Chicago Board of Trade, announced his candidacy Tuesday.

"I will run a campaign that brings people together, just as I did while in the Legislature when reforming a dysfunctional Child Protective Services, building a bipartisan coalition to pass all-day kindergarten, and increasing funding for education and university research," O'Halleran said in a press release.

O'Halleran registered to vote as a Democrat last week.

He represented the Sedona area in the state House from 2001-2006, then in the Arizona Senate from 2007-2009. He was unseated by Steve Pierce in the 2008 GOP primary.

He left the Republican Party in 2014, making an unsuccessful run for the state Senate as an independent candidate.

"As a grandparent and active member of my community, I can't sit on the sidelines while we make reckless cuts to investments in America's future," he said Tuesday, announcing his run as a Democrat to fill what will be an open seat. "Now is the time to come together to make college more affordable and improve job training, fund critical infrastructure, and end special interest loopholes for corporations that don't need them."

O'Halleran joins Democratic State Sen. Barbara McGuire and State Rep. Catherine Miranda in seeking the nomination to run to replace U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who is running for the U.S. Senate against GOP incumbent Sen. John McCain.

On the GOP side, rancher Gary Kiehne and former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett have filed to run in CD 1. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is looking at running, and state House Speaker David Gowan has expressed interest in the seat, although he lives outside the district in Sierra Vista.

Arizona's far-flung 1st Congressional District extends from Oro Valley all the way to Flagstaff and beyond to the Grand Canyon and Utah border.

O'Halleran joined the Chicago Police Department in 1966, becoming a homicide investigator. In 1979, he became a member of the Chicago Board of Trade, an options and futures trading center.

After retiring to Arizona, he served in the legislature and as president of Keep Sedona Beautiful and as chair of the Verde River Basin Partnership.

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