by Jim Nintzel
The air war is underway in Congressional District 1, where Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick is facing Republican Jonathan Paton.
As we mentioned last week, Kirkpatrick is up on TV with her first biographical ad, which focuses on her ties to the district. Kirkpatrick is a former state lawmaker who represented much of the area in Congress for one term before getting knocked out office by Republican Paul Gosar in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already hammering away at Paton, a former state lawmaker who fell short in the GOP primary in his first congressional run two years ago.
The DCCC is spending $500,000 on ads that hit Paton on his work for the payday-loan industry, which has been a persistent thorn in his side.
Team Paton spokesman Barrett Marson blasted the DCCC ad in a statement to TW: “It’s no surprise that Ann Kirkpatrick’s Democrat allies in Washington are doing everything possible to distract from her support for the failed Obama record. This ad is a complete lie and distortion of the facts. Jonathan is an Iraq veteran who once represented a charity that put money back into the community through scholarships to Arizona students. That’s a real contrast to Kirkpatrick’s record of rubber-stamping ObamaCare and the trillion dollar stimulus.”
Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has reserved $900,000 in air time in the district, has launched its first ad, which links Kirkpatrick to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and criticizes her vote for the Affordable Care Act because it could destroy jobs and raise taxes. It also shows highlights Paton’s military service, as well as his vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut taxes.
Team Kirkpatrick spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson questioned the accuracy of the NRCC ad.
"Pushing the same old lies seems like a missed opportunity," Johnson said via email. "The NRCC could've spent all that money promoting the Ryan-Paton plan to voucherize Medicare."
Even though the CD1 includes areas in and around Marana and Oro Valley, these ads are airing in the Phoenix market because that reaches the rest of the district: the eastern side of Arizona, Flagstaff and many of the tribal lands up north.
Democrats have an 8 percentage point voter-registration edge in CD1, but when it comes to perfomance—i.e., how well GOP candidates actually do when on the ballot in the district—it’s pretty close to even odds for a Democratic or Republican candidate.
Those stats has National Journal calling it a GOP-leaning district, but the magazine also names it No. 12 on the list of House seats most likely to flip to the opposite party. House Race Hotline editor Scott Bland calls Kirkpatrick “a good fit for a seat that moved left in redistricting.”
Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report puts the seat in the “Republican Toss Up” column.