After Arizona Primaries, 9th District Rating Change

by Nathan L. Gonzales August 29, 2012 · 6:14 PM EDT

Tuesday’s primaries in Arizona offered a little bit of everything, including a Member vs. Member race and what GOP strategists are calling “a gift.”

The 9th District is brand new, after the Grand Canyon State was awarded another seat in Congress through reapportionment, and its first general election could be a fascinating race between an openly bisexual Democrat and an African-American Republican.

Kyrsten Sinema won the Democratic nomination with 42 percent over state Senate Leader David Schapira (31 percent) and former state party chairman Andrei Cherny (27 percent). Vernon Parker, an official in both Bush administrations and Paradise Valley city councilman, won the Republican nomination with 23 percent over three other candidates.

On paper, the district is competitive- Barack Obama won it with 51 percent and George W. Bush carried it with 49.5 percent in 2004- and Republicans believe Sinema is too liberal for the district.

“We probably got our biggest gift in the entire country,” National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Guy Harrison said in a conference call from the convention in Florida about Sinema.

But Parker will need to boost his fundraising, or rely on Republican outside groups, in order to compete. He raised about $210,000 and had $56,000 in the bank through the pre-primary FEC period that ended August 8. In comparison, Sinema raised $747,000 and had $154,000, and should be able to raise more money with help from EMILY’s List.

The general election is just getting started, but the competitive nature of the district and the potential liabilities of both candidates creates enough uncertainty to change the rating of the district from Democrat Favored to Lean Democrat.

In other races in Arizona, David Schweikert (R) topped Ben Quayle (R) by five points in the next-to-the-last Member vs. Member primary this cycle. and in the 4th District, Rep. Paul Gosar topped 50 percent in the multi-candidate GOP primary that included state Sen. Ron Gould, who had the backing of the Club for Growth.

In the 1st District, the stage is set for a competitive race general election, that the Rothenberg Political Report rates as Lean Democrat. Former Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick defeated Wendy Benally Baldenegro with 64 percent in the Democratic Primary, even though the latter was endorsed by liberal Rep. Raul Grijalva. Kirkpatrick now faces Republican Jonathan Paton in the general election.

Rep. Ron Barber, who was just elected to Congress in a special election in the 8th District, defeated state Rep. Matt Heinz, with 82 percent in the renumbered 2nd District in the Tucson area. The congressman races former Air Force combat pilot Martha McSally (R) in the fall but RPR recently upgraded Barber’s chances of winning a full term to Democrat Favored, in part because of the Republican’s mediocre fundraising.