Roll Call looks at how Arizona Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick survived when so many other Democrats lost on Election Day:
Republican operatives called her race “cooked.” One national news organization put her chances at 12 percent. After all, Arizona 1st District voters already fired Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick once before in a toxic climate in 2010.
But as House Democrats fell across the country, Kirkpatrick didn’t just win re-election. She expanded her margin from 2012. She proved the naysayers wrong due to one, simple political maxim: To win, a candidate has to be better than his or her opponent. And she was.
Her rival, Arizona Speaker Andy Tobin was a a top recruit for national Republicans. The party went all in for him, spending millions against her on television.
“People know me,” she said in a phone interview last week. “They’re common sense people, and I think they saw through the partisan games.”