by Jim Nintzel
Former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton is considering a run for Congress this year in the new Congressional District 1.
“I’ve been talking to people about it,” says Paton, who lost a GOP primary in 2010 to Jesse Kelly, the Republican newcomer who would go on to lose to Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Congressional District 8 by a few thousand votes. “I’m getting a lot of positive feedback from people who supported Jesse Kelly and Brian Miller.”
Rather than trying to win Giffords’ district—which will be known as Congressional District 2 in the upcoming election year—Paton is instead aiming at CD1, a massive district that includes Marana, Oro Valley, Saddlebrooke, Flagstaff and most of the eastern rural portions of the state outside of Cochise County.
Congressional District 1 is considered a competitive district; 40 percent of voters are Democratic, 30 percent are Republican and 30 percent are independents.
Paton, who is a regular panelist on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable on Friday nights, does not currently live in Congressional District 1, but he has been working as a consultant to the town of Marana.
Congressman Paul Gosar, a Republican who has represented much of that area after unseating Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick in 2010, announced last week that he’d be running in the new Congressional District 4, a solidly Republican district that includes much of rural Arizona on the west side of the state. Gosar’s move puts him in a GOP primary with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who announced his own campaign last week, and state Sen. Ron Gould of Lake Havasu, who has an exploratory committee for the district.
That leaves no incumbent in CD1, where Kirkpatrick is already seeking a comeback. She’s expected to face Wenona Benally Baldenegro of the Navajo nation in a Democratic primary.
Other rumored GOP candidates include Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and former state lawmaker Bill Konopnicki.