Democrat Tom O'Halleran announced a big endorsement in the race for the open seat in Arizona's Congressional District 1: Current CD1 Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who is giving up the seat to pursue the U.S. Senate seat now held by John McCain, has given him her nod.
"I'm proud to endorse Tom O’Halleran for Congress—he’s tough and committed to working across the aisle to get things done,” said Kirkpatrick in a prepared statement. “I trust Tom to work hard for the people of Arizona. I served with Tom in the state legislature and saw him deliver real results that benefitted countless children and families. Tom will always do what is right for Arizona, and he is the best and most qualified person to represent the people of District One.”
O'Halleran, who appears to have chased off any major Democratic challengers in the sprawling district that includes Oro Valley, Flagstaff and much of eastern, rural Arizona, said he was "honored" by the endorsement.
"She has done a tremendous job representing this large and diverse district,” said O’Halleran. “Whether it is advocating for veterans, fighting for jobs or solving problems for her constituents, Ann’s commitment and service to the voters of Arizona is commendable. I look forward to working with her as our next U.S. Senator.”
O'Halleran, who served as a moderate Republican in the Arizona Legislature, switched to the Democratic Party for the congressional campaign.
He's already won endorsements from former Southern Arizona congressman Ron Barber, former Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard, 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Fred Duval, 2014 Democratic attorney general nominee Felicia Rotellini and nearly two dozen Democratic state lawmakers.
O'Halleran appears to have chased off any significant Democratic challengers in next year's primary.
Five Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination, including rancher and oilman Gary Kiehne, who narrowly lost the 2014 GOP primary; Arizona House Speaker David Gowan; Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu; former Arizona secretary of state Ken Bennett; and political newcomer Shawn Redd.