Tags: Trump Administration | John McCain | ann kirkpatrick | john mccain | 2016 | arizona | redistricting

Ariz. Democrat Kirkpatrick Pins Best Hopes on Unseating McCain

Ariz. Democrat Kirkpatrick Pins Best Hopes on Unseating McCain
Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz. (Thos Robinson/Getty Images)

By Thursday, 28 May 2015 10:36 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Talk in Arizona is that Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's decision to challenge Sen. John McCain next year is due to a pending Supreme Court decision that could result in redrawing the state's U.S. House districts to make her re-election virtually impossible.

"My initial reaction to [Kirkpatrick’s] decision to run for the Senate was that she wanted to end her political career," former State Republican Chairman Randy Pullen told Newsmax. "But that would have happened anyway if she had run for re-election to the House and the court decision comes down the way we think it will."

Pullen was referring to Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which the Supreme Court could rule on as early as next week.

The Arizona State Legislature had overseen congressional and legislative redistricting since the state joined the union in 1912. But in 2000, voters enacted a statewide initiative that put redistricting in the hands of a five-member independent commission.

The commission concept and fundraising for the campaign supporting it were almost exclusively the work of Jim Pederson, multimillionaire developer and then-chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Last year, the Republican-controlled state Legislature went to court to argue that the independent redistricting commission has no authority because the U.S. Constitution says that "times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof."

Supporters of the commission countered that the Supreme Court has in the past ruled that the word "legislature" means "the legislative process," and while the Constitution gives state legislatures the power to regulate elections, it also provides this caveat: "[B]ut the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations."

Based on these two points, a lower court ruling last year upheld the independent commission. The state legislature then appealed to the Supreme Court, where former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement made the argument on its behalf.

Along with Arizona, five other states give independent commissions the authority to handle redistricting: California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, and Washington.

"If the ruling goes against the commission, then the [Republican-dominated] legislature would probably redraw the congressional district lines and Arizona would go from a 5-4 Republican U.S. House delegation to one that is 7-2 Republican," said Pullen.

Almost certain to gain fresh Republican voters would be the Arizona's 2nd District, where Republican Martha McSally unseated Democratic Rep. Ron Barber last year by 161 votes out of more than 219,000 cast.

In addition, the 9th District of Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and Kirkpatrick’s 1st District would be likely to pick up new GOP turf.

Since she won her first term in 2008, onetime Sedona City Attorney Kirkpatrick has never had an easy election. She was unseated by Republican Paul Gosar in 2010, and following redistricting in 2011 (and Gosar moving to run in a more Republican district), Kirkpatrick narrowly won back her old seat 49 percent to 45 percent.

Last fall, she won a close re-election battle over Republican Andy Tobin, former speaker of the state House.

With her House seat now open, at least four Republicans are either eyeing the race or definitely running in what is considered one of their party's best chances anywhere to pick up a seat held by a Democrat.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


   
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Talk in Arizona is that Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's decision to challenge Sen. John McCain next year is due to a pending Supreme Court decision that could result in redrawing the state's U.S. House districts to make her re-election virtually impossible, John Gizzi writes.
ann kirkpatrick, john mccain, 2016, arizona, redistricting, supreme court
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2015-36-28
Thursday, 28 May 2015 10:36 AM
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