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