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And Up North

Ann Kirkpatrick is hoping for a rematch next year in CD 1, or whatever the heck they plan on calling it. I usually note that the district is the size of Pennsylvania, because national media always seemed to find this the most fascinating tidbit about the district.

Kirkpatrick will be a formidable candidate, if for no other reason that she’s won before. While she was in congress, I would get press releases from her distancing herself from Barack Obama, even highlighting in stark terms her opposition to his policies on the border and the environment. That’s why I found it amusing that when she made her early announcement, one reason given for her being able to make a strong challenge was Obama’s presence on the ballot.

She won’t have a free ride in the primary, however. Wenona Benally Baldenegro made the rounds at the last Democratic State Meeting when it was held in Tucson a couple of weeks ago. She’s a Harvard educated attorney and member of the Navajo nation. She just announced the support of Steve Gallardo, Marcario Saldate and Johnny Naize. Her full press release is below:

Sen. Steve Gallardo endorses Wenona Benally Baldenegro for Congress

We are very excited to announce that in her exploratory run for U.S. House of Representatives, Arizona Congressional District 1, Wenona Benally Baldenegro has secured the endorsement of Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo. From his position representing LD13 in the Arizona State Senate, Sen. Gallardo has been a shining light for Arizona in the fight against Russell Pearce and the extremist Republican agenda that has taken over our State Legislature and is crippling the State of Arizona.

As a Congresswoman, Wenona will proudly stand by the values and principles that define the Democratic Party, and she will fight passionately for the working families of Arizona. She is firmly committed to protecting Medicare and Medicaid, and she will work tirelessly to end the Bush tax cuts to corporations and to the wealthiest Americans. She strongly supports small businesses and she will work hard for job creation and economic development. At the same time, she is deeply invested in protecting public health and our environment. Finally, she is committed to the Democratic values of equal opportunities and justice for all, including passage of the DREAM Act, repealing DOMA, and enacting immigration reform.

Wenona is a lifelong Democrat who has paid her political dues. She has worked on numerous campaigns, from Presidential campaigns to local school board campaigns. In 2008, she served as a Tribal Advisor to the Obama Presidential campaign, and last year, she served as co-chair, along with Congressman Raul Grijalva, on the Vince Rabago for Attorney General campaign. She will energize the people of CD1, including young voters, tribal communities, and Latino communities, to come out to vote in numbers that will help Democrats recapture CD1. Wenona also is very encouraged by the prospect that her candidacy will get out the vote, in numbers that help will put an Arizona Democrat into the U.S. Senate and help President Obama win his re-election campaign.

In her words, “This is a critical time for Arizona and the nation. The Republicans in Congress are attempting to balance the federal budget on the backs of the middle-class, working-class, and the elderly. Furthermore, the Republican-controlled State Legislature is balancing our state budget at the expense of our county and city governments. More than ever, rural Arizona needs a Congressional representative who will stand up for the middle-class and working poor, and who will vigorously fight for programs and services that are essential to the stability of our State and the country.”

Wenona’s candidacy is historic, in that she seeks to be the first American Indian woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, and the first American Indian from Arizona. “It is time for a new vision for Arizona and for the rest of the country. We need leaders who will stand up for the working-class and who will restore our image as proud Arizonans.”

In addition to Sen. Gallardo’s endorsement, Wenona has already received the following endorsements of her Congressional campaign:

Johnny Naize – Speaker of the Council, Navajo Nation
Macario Saldate – Bilingual education pioneer, Arizona House of Representatives, LD27
Joshua Lavar Butler – Council Member, Navajo Nation
Cecilia Cruz – Founding member, Pima County/Tucson Women’s Commission
Luis A. Gonzales – Former Arizona State Senator
Antonio Bracamonte – Dean of Student Services, Maricopa County Community College District
Antonio Bustamante – Union/Civil Rights attorney, Los Abogados
Salomón R. Baldenegro – Former Professor/Asst. Dean of Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, University of Arizona

10 Comments

  1. Bill wrote:

    It appears that only two of those endorsees live in the current District 1 (at most). A campaign based in Tucson and Phoenix will not cut it for that district.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  2. Beco wrote:

    It will be very interesting to see what comes of the Democratic Primary for this district, whichever way its boundaries (and CD number) eventually turn out to be. Hopefully Ms. Benally will organize a strong campaign for this seat – after Ms. Kirkpatrick’s disappointing record during her time in the U.S. House, this set of policy positions is very encouraging. If she were to win the primary, it would likely also energize rural American Indians into voting in large numbers in 2012 (something Kirkpatrick wouldn’t do given the way many groups, such as the Apache, felt betrayed by her).

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  3. Really? wrote:

    It worked wonders for Secretary of State Chris Deschene…

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  4. Tom-AZ wrote:

    Ted,

    Not sure if you wrote that or the campaign did but focusing on someone from Phoenix as their main endorsee is doing her no favors. I love Steve and its true what he has done to oppose Pearce but someone from Phoenix really has no business being involved in a primarily rural district. It smacks of carpet bagging.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  5. Ken wrote:

    I cannot find that she is a registered Democrat…or even voter…in Arizona. Also, the article gives no contact info.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  6. Sal Baldenegro, Jr. wrote:

    Bill, thank you for your comment, and I appreciate your concern. Keep in mind, though, that it is very early in the election cycle. We are working on additional endorsements, and I assure you that we will get endorsements from up and down the district, which, as it’s drawn now, goes down as far as Oracle, AZ.

    Also, in the interest of fairness, I don’t know of any notable people up here, in Northern Arizona, who have endorsed Kirkpatrick. Maybe there are some, but I have not heard of any.

    This is for a reason; she is not looked upon as a viable candidate. She is viewed as someone who made a lot of promises in ’08, but turned around and broke many of them, betraying her base, in the process.

    There are three key issues that come up, time after time, in our discussions with the community: 1) She voted YES to extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. 2) She completely disrespected Apache tribal sovereignty and environmental concerns in her push for the Resolution Copper mine. 3) She skipped out on her vote (NV) on the DREAM Act, last year.

    This is why people were not energized to vote for her, last year, and the reason why she lost to Gosar the Dentist. Wenona will energize people all over the district, including young voters, tribal voters, and Latino voters. A very promising consequence of this is that Wenona’s candidacy will get out the vote to help both our Democratic Senatorial candidate and Pres. Obama in his re-election campaign.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  7. Sal Baldenegro, Jr. wrote:

    Steve Gallardo’s endorsement is a notable one, but it is not the centerpiece of Wenona’s campaign. If we were to choose her most important endorsement, at this early stage, it would be Navajo Nation Speaker of the Council Johnny Naize.

    As for her Democratic credentials, she has paid her dues. She a lifelong Democrat, and a member of the Navajo Nation, growing up in Kayenta, AZ. She was a Southwest US Tribal Outreach coordinator on the ’08 Obama Campaign, and she was a Co-chair, along with Congressman Grijalva, on the Vince Rabago for Attorney General Campaign.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink
  8. Nona Baldenegro wrote:

    Steve Gallardo’s endorsement of my campaign is significant as Rep. Gallardo is a strong advocate for the Latino community in Arizona and throughout the country. Latino voters will be critical in 2012 and so it is very important for Obama and all Democratic Party candidates running in 2012 to be responsive to their concerns and interests. I will push for the passage of the DREAM Act and immigration reform. I also will advocate for affordable healthcare for all, invest in our children’s education, and bring sustainable jobs to the region.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  9. Cheryl Bader wrote:

    Wenona Benally Balenegro is an exciting candidate in CD1. When talking to voters in Northern Arizona about Wenona there is no need to make excuses for her positions as we do with Ann Kirkpatrick’s voting record. She speaks to the heart of our democratic values. Her strength is our base, voters who stayed home in November.

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink
  10. Beco wrote:

    It’s going to be an interesting campaign to be sure. As for Mr. Deschene, there are many factors for his loss (Sec. of State Bennet ran a clear and focused campaign, plus he had the advantage of incumbency in addition to being a member of the GOP in a heavy red-tide tsunami amid the SB 1070 controversy), but that should not invalidate Ms. Benally from attempting this campaign or discourage anyone from supporting her just because she is of the same ethnicity as the Democratic Party’s unsuccessful nominee for Sec of State.

    Friday, May 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink