- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Giffords is seen as shoo-in for Kyl’s seat
Considered run before shooting
Question of the Day
The three-term Democratic congresswoman explored the idea of running for the Senate seat in the event of Mr. Kyl’s retirement before she was shot Jan. 8 at a constituent meet-and-greet in Tucson. Her rehabilitation from a gunshot wound to the head reportedly is proceeding faster than expected.
Mr. Kyl announced Thursday that he would not seek a fourth term in 2012. If Ms. Giffords decides she’s game for a Senate run and if her health permits, she would be virtually impossible to defeat, said Bruce Merrill, Arizona State University professor emeritus and longtime pollster.
“If one assumes she’d be healthy enough to run, there’s nobody who could beat her,” said Mr. Merrill. “Now she’s got 100 percent name identification and 100 percent sympathy from the public. If she was well enough and she wanted the nomination, I don’t think there’s any question.”
That’s the easy scenario. If Ms. Giffords declines to run, then the Senate race becomes much more complicated, with as many as a dozen Republicans, a handful of Democrats, a couple of tea partyers and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet in the mix.
Pencil in Rep. Jeff Flake as an all-but-guaranteed candidate for the Republican nomination. Within minutes of Mr. Kyl’s announcement in Phoenix, Mr. Flake received the endorsement of the influential Club for Growth.
“We definitely hope Congressman Flake takes a look at this and gets into the race,” said Club for Growth spokesman Mike Connelly. “Arizona obviously has a lot of conservative folks who would do a good job, but Congressman Flake has distinguished himself during his tenure in the House as a pro-growth, limited-government conservative.”
The Club for Growth’s support isn’t just for show. Its ads on behalf of Sharron Angle was crucial in helping her defeat her better-known rivals in last year’s double-digit Nevada Republican primary.
The Arizona Republican field could be equally jammed with credible candidates. Potential contenders include Rep. Trent Franks, former Rep. John Shadegg and J.D. Hayworth, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and state Senate President Russell Pearce.
Democratic hopefuls may have to hold their breath until Ms. Giffords makes her decision. If she doesn’t run, then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano becomes the immediate favorite, followed in no particular order by businessman Jim Pederson, who ran against Mr. Kyl in 2006, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, former Attorney General Terry Goddard and former Rep. Harry Mitchell.
Ms. Napolitano was elected to two terms as Arizona governor, but her popularity in the state has dipped along with the White House’s fortunes. Yet few doubt she could make a comeback with a combination of name recognition, campaign experience and access to Mr. Obama’s contributors.
Would Ms. Napolitano be interested in returning to the campaign trail? Absolutely. “Her dream has always been to serve in the U.S. Senate. That’s been her lifelong goal,” said Mr. Merrill.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a jubilant statement saying Mr. Kyl’s imminent departure has “instantly catapulted Arizona to a prime pick-up opportunity for Senate Democrats this cycle.”
In the absence of a Giffords candidacy, however, that may be wishful thinking. The current political climate strongly favors Republicans, who knocked off a number of Democrat incumbents in November without losing any of their own.
Can Republicans hold on to the Kyl seat? “I don’t know why they wouldn’t,” said Goldwater Institute communications director Le Templar. “[Sen.] John McCain won handily last year. Every Republican running for statewide office won last year.”
Mr. Kyl, 68, joins an illustrious group of incumbents opting to leave the Senate in 2012. The others are Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat; Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican; Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent, and Jim Webb, Virginia Democrat.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- EPA hears testimony on proposed carbon emissions rules
- Westerners call for oversight to combat federal land managers
- Protesters rally in Colorado to support Israel's fight with Hamas
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Islamic militants seize Benghazi as U.S. evacuates Libya
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world