- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - National Republicans are helping raise the profile of Arizona congressional candidate Andy Tobin by picking him to deliver the GOP’s national radio address Saturday.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday that Tobin will deliver the address and discuss his campaign challenging Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District.

Boehner’s announcement says Tobin is the first House challenger to deliver the party’s address this year.

Choosing local candidates for the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s weekly address is a time-worn way to give national prominence to candidates or state elected officials and help their campaigns. The Republican address usually alternates between members of the U.S. House and Senate but as the election nears, the GOP will tap local candidates to give them exposure.

Two years ago, Vernon Parker was chosen to deliver the address during his ultimately failed effort to win the 9th Congressional District seat that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema won.

Boehner praised Tobin in a statement accompanying the announcement.

“Andy Tobin is a proven conservative leader who knows what it takes to create jobs and get America back on track,” Boehner said. “Andy can win his race because he’s listening to Arizonans and fighting for their priorities, and I’m glad he’ll be delivering this week’s address.”

Kirkpatrick campaign spokesman D.B. Mitchell mocked the selection.

“From his ties to the Fiesta Bowl scandal to his protection of the gift culture at the Legislature, Tobin is a candidate who will be right at home on center stage, pushing the out-of-touch agenda of his Washington bosses instead of fighting for Arizona’s working families,” Mitchell said in a statement.

The Fiesta Bowl scandal erupted in 2011 when it was revealed that the event’s CEO was collecting campaign contributions from his employees and then reimbursing them with bowl funds. An investigation found Tobin and 30 other lawmakers had taken free tickets to games and other perks without disclosing them. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery determined they could not be prosecuted because of conflicting laws. Tobin and other lawmakers have rejected efforts to ban the acceptance of free tickets.

Tobin defeated two other Republicans in the Aug. 26 primary election to win their party’s nomination.

Tobin, from Paulden, is currently speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.

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