Sabato's Crystal Ball

Arizona (01) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Ann Kirkpatrick, incumbent

Republican candidate: Paul Gosar, dentist

Recent Updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 5, 2010

When an incumbent releases a month-old internal poll showing her statistically tied with her challenger and significantly under 50%, it is a sure sign she is feeling the heat. That is the case for Ann Kirkpatrick, a freshman Democrat who finds herself in the unenviable position of hailing from a state where GOPers are fired up about everything from immigration to the economy and itching to send a message to Obama. Republican Paul Gosar, a dentist, is her general election opponent and is already up on television with help from the NRCC, which seems to be all-in on ensuring her defeat. With state winds blowing in the GOP direction, matching the prevailing national ones, Kirkpatrick looks more likely to be toppled in November, leading the Crystal Ball rating to change from Toss-Up to Leans Republican.

Update: September 28, 2010

Coming off her first term, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick is looking at a difficult reelection campaign in 2010. Kirkpatrick has accumulated a rather liberal voting record, after supporting health care reform, the stimulus plan, and her pro-choice stance. In this centrist district with a large Native American population, Kirkpatrick’s policies have not been very popular.

She is facing Republican Paul Gosar, a former dentist and political newcomer, who has gained the endorsements of the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. Although Gosar lacks political experience, he is emphasizing his small-business mindset that will help reduce the size of government, cut taxes, and help create jobs. In this political climate, that might be enough for him to defeat Kirkpatrick. The American Action Forum released a poll on September 7th showing Gosar leading Kirkpatrick 47% to 41%. The 1st District is a Toss-Up.

Background:

Freshman Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick ended fourteen years of Republican control in Arizona’s 1st District last year when she rode Barack Obama’s coattails into Congress with a solid 16 point victory over Republican Sydney Ann Hay. In 2010, she is squaring off against Republican former state Senator Rusty Bowers and Arizona “Dentist of the Year” Dr. Paul Gosar. Both Republicans hail from similar points on the conservative end of the spectrum, and may have some challenge differentiating their policy objectives to voters in the primary. Certainly Bowers’ government experience in the Arizona legislature will help his chances, but challenging the well-funded and recognized incumbent might prove too high a mesa to climb. As for Dr. Gosar, unless he can achieve a much higher level of name recognition, this election might have all the pleasure of a root canal.