Sabato's Crystal Ball

Arizona (08) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans D

Democratic candidate: Gabrielle Giffords, incumbent

Republican candidate: Jesse Kelly, construction project manager

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 14, 2010

Arizona (08) is a race that Democrats insist is salvageable, as incumbent Gabrielle Giffords has received some support from conservative sources and faces a political newcomer with Tea Party ties in Jesse Kelly. Kelly’s huge fundraising haul and energized supporters, however, show that he is not to be taken lightly. This will be a closely contested race on slightly Republican turf, and given Gifford’s slim wins in heavily Democratic years, this may be her toughest challenge yet. This race goes from Leans Democrat to Toss-up.

Update: August 2, 2010

Democratic incumbent Gabrielle Giffords is facing a large field of Republican opponents before the August 24th primary. The Republican candidates include Iraq vet Andy Goss, Iraq vet Jesse Kelly, Brian Miller, former state Senator Jonathan Paton, and Jay Quick. Jonathan Paton and Jesse Kelly appear to be the frontrunners for the Republican nomination. Although Giffords is running during a difficult time for incumbents, she has a sizable campaign war chest ready with over $2 million in the bank and her party’s strong support. This race leans Democratic.

Background:

Second-term Democratic incumbent Gabrielle Giffords is attempting to extend her win streak over her Republican opponents and secure another two years in the recently-formed 8th District. She won by a comfortable 12 percent over her opponents in each of her past two elections, despite the district choosing Republican presidential candidates in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Her significant war chest of $1,213,000 should stand up nicely to the politically-inexperienced competition in 2010. However, the array of gung-ho soldiers facing her on the other side of the aisle are sure to not back down from a challenge: A-10 Instructor Pilot Brian Miller, former Marine and construction executive Jesse Kelley, and Army veteran Andy Goss. What they lack in funds or experience they can make up partly in spirit, but they might have to go through a different basic training if they want to succeed in the political field.