I spotted Steve Owens at the State Committee meeting last week. He was one of four possible candidates for Congressional District 1 that was there, or at least had some sort of presence.
Owens is still seriously considering a go at the race. He thinks that he still has time to make a decision and is looking to make his intentions known in September. He talked about still wanting to discuss it a bit more with his family (his sons are now teenagers) and he’s got a challenging and well paying job as director of the Department of Environmental Quality that he’d have to give up.
Owens mentioned that back when he ran in 1996 he carried the rural counties of then District 6. These counties form the bulk of the current District 1. In that race, what saved J. D. Hayworth was votes from the heavilly Republican slice of Maricopa county in the District (it is not in the current District 1). Hayworth’s wider victory margin in 1998 can be blamed on low Democratic turnout that year, as Owens still carried the rural areas in total, with only bare narrow losses in Gila, Greenlee and Navajo counties.
After my conversation, it looks like Owens is still in “Making Plans to Make Plans” mode. Given his job, he needs to be circumspect. But it sounds to me like he is going to make a go of it.