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U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi‘s indictment for corruption-related charges cleared the way for a flood of Democrats and Republicans to vie for the seat. According to the National Journal, “In Arizona, once a solidly red state, the Democratic Party has seen an ascendency far faster than many might have expected. Aided in part by an internal GOP split over illegal immigration, Democrats there have successfully tapped into both emerging constituencies like the state’s rapidly increasing Hispanic population, and traditional Republican territory, like business interests, to find new fundraising and electoral success.” [National Journal’s House Race Hotline, 2/20/08] According to the Arizona Capital Times, “While immigration has proven to be a hot-button issue in other states, a hard line on enforcement has rarely proven an effective electoral strategy in Arizona.” [The Arizona Capital Times, 5/2/08]
Ann Kirkpatrick (D) beat three other candidates to secure the Democratic nomination. The AP reported, “Ann Kirkpatrick, a Flagstaff lawyer and former state legislator, easily beat out three other Democrats in the district primary Tuesday with 23,557 votes, or 48 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting… [Republican] Sydney Hay, a mining industry lobbyist, won by a smaller margin among a field of four Republicans. She had 15,493 votes, or 39 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting… Kirkpatrick and Hay also will face Independent Brent Maupin in the general election.” [AP, 9/3/08]
COMPREHENSIVE REFORMER. An editorial from the Arizona Republic stated that Kirkpatrick (D) “supports comprehensive immigration reform and calls for expanding the Border Patrol.” Kirkpatrick has touted her record of supporting minority rights. On the immigration issue she stated, “Progress is happening at too slow a pace. Discrimination still exists, and the immigration debate has done nothing but create more dissent. Congress needs to solve this crisis now.” Still, there is no mention of immigration on Kirkpatrick’s website. [The Arizona Republic, 8/3/08; Emily’s List Website; Accessed 8/12/08]
VAGUE SUPPORT FOR ENFORCEMENT PLUS REFORM. In 2002 Hay ran against Renzi and almost won, “but because of her conservative stands, especially on immigration and social issues, some worry she might not fit the district.” [Arizona Capitol Times, 5/2/08] While in 2008 Hay is very supportive of the need for stronger border enforcement, she also points to the benefits of legal immigration and the need to reform our system to address illegal immigration: “[W]e have a very real need for workers in specific industries in Arizona, and we must always be cognizant of that. Developing a market-based approach to deal with the labor needs of our nation, without suppressing American wages or job opportunities, would be the best way to approach this problem.” [Sydney Hay for Congress, accessed 8/6/08]
Brent Maupin does not state his immigration position on his website and a search of news articles yielded no information on his stance.