by Jim Nintzel
Republican Jonathan Paton, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and Libertarian Kim Allen are set for a Congressional District 1 debate tonight in Southern Arizona.
The candidates, who are facing off in a sprawling district that includes Oro Valley, Marana, Eastern Arizona, Flagstaff and the Navajo reservation on the north end of the state, will answer questions before a live audience from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Legacy Traditional school, 3500 W. Cortaro Farms Road.
Earlier today, the National Republican Congressional Committee released a poll showing Paton with a 5-percentage-point lead in the race to represent the district, which has a Democratic edge.
The survey, which was done via robocall, showed Paton with the support of 50 percent of voters in the district and Kirkpatrick with the support of 45 percent.
Team Kirkpatrick dismissed the poll results.
"This is a useless partisan push poll,” said Kirkpatrick campaign manager Carmen Gallus. “We challenge Paton and the NRCC to release the full questionnaire and crosstabs.”
NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said the organization would not be releasing the full crosstabs, but insisted the poll was legitimate.
“We set out to conduct an accurate, objective poll of the district to see where the candidates stand, which is reflective in the sampling and questions,” Scarpinato said. “The only one to blame for Ann Kirkpatrick’s lack of support from voters is Ann Kirkpatrick.”
While the NRCC was rolling out its poll, Team Kirkpatrick rolled out the endorsement of Congessman Ron Barber and former state lawmaker Pete Hershberger.
Here’s the press release from Team Kirkpatrick:
Democratic Congressman Ron Barber and Republican former state Rep. Pete Hershberger announced today they will endorse Ann Kirkpatrick in the race for Arizona's Congressional District 1, a sprawling, mostly rural district that includes the northernmost portion of Pima County.
Congressman Barber currently represents CD8, which includes Oro Valley, Marana and Saddlebrooke. These Southern Arizona communities have moved into CD1 under the 2012 redistricting maps.
“Ann has the right style of leadership for a diverse district like CD1— she knows how to work across the aisle and get things done,” Barber said. “Ann has a strong record of bringing jobs here. Her combination of fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship is exactly what folks in Southern Arizona expect from a representative.”
Former state Rep. Pete Hershberger is a Southern Arizona Republican who worked with Kirkpatrick and her general-election opponent, Jonathan Paton, in the state Legislature.
“Ann is a commonsense leader who looks at both sides of the issues and involves all the stakeholders,” Hershberger said. “Unlike her opponent, Ann is not focused on partisan games or rigid ideology. She's the kind of person we need representing our region and our state.”
Here’s the press release on the NRCC poll:
TO: INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM: NRCC POLLING DIRECTOR BROCK MCCLEARY
DATE: OCTOBER 8, 2012
SUBJECT: ARIZONA’S FIRST DISTRICT
Iraq veteran Jonathan Paton is on the rise according to the results of a poll conducted by the NRCC in Arizona’s 1st District. Paton is benefitting from an advertising blitz in the last two weeks that has helped him move ahead of former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick. As the default incumbent in the race, Kirkpatrick can ill afford to fall behind when undecided voters are likely to break for the challenger.
Jonathan Paton 50%
Ann Kirkpatrick 45%
Voters are deadlocked 46-46% on whether they prefer a Republican or Democrat to represent them in Congress. Paton’s 50% on the ballot demonstrates support for him that goes beyond just base voters.
Generic Congressional Ballot:
At the top of the ticket, a post-debate bounce is evident for Governor Romney.
Mitt Romney 51%
Barack Obama 46%
The interactive voice response (IVR) survey was conducted by the NRCC on October 4th with a sample size of 501 respondents and a margin of error +/-4.3%. The party registration breakdown for the sample was:
Sample by party:
Here are the questions from the poll, according to Scarpinato:
How likely are you to vote in the upcoming presidential election?
Very likely to vote
Somewhat likely to vote
Somewhat unlikely to vote
Very unlikely to vote
Do you plan to vote early, either by mail or in-person, or will you be voting on election day?
Vote on election day
If the election for President were held today, would you vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?
If the election for Congress were held today, would you rather vote for a Republican or a Democrat?
If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for Republican Jonathan Paton (Pay-ton) or Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick?
Republican Jonathan Paton (Pay-ton)
Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick
With which political party are you registered to vote?
Any other party
What is your age?
18 to 29
30 to 44
45 to 64
65 or older
Are you male or female?