Morning Digest: Arizona Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick could return to Congress in a new district

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

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AZ-02: Shortly after 1st District Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick recently formed an exploratory committee to run in the 2nd District, former state Rep. Matt Heinz released a PPP survey that shows him besting the former congresswoman by 40-30 in a hypothetical Democratic primary next year while state Rep. Randy Friese takes just 6 percent. These numbers are part of an early May survey from which Heinz had released the general election numbers last month. That portion of the poll showed both Kirkpatrick and Heinz narrowly defeating GOP Rep. Martha McSally by 48-44 in this 50-45 Clinton seat, which is located in Tucson.

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Heinz argues that he leads in the Democratic primary despite having just 64 percent name recognition compared to 75 percent for Kirkpatrick, but this month-old poll doesn’t exactly seem that intimidating at this early stage in the race. If anything, it demonstrates that this contest is still wide open and that Heinz isn’t guaranteed to win the nomination a second time in a row. While Heinz does lead the former congresswoman, this survey also shows that voters are open to nominating her even though she switched districts, and Kirkpatrick could have a much easier time raising money than Heinz thanks to her existing national donor network.

The survey notably did not appear to include former Army assistant secretary Mary Matiella or former state Rep. Bruce Wheeler, who unlike Kirkpatrick have already formally joined the race in the weeks since the poll was taken. Furthermore, Friese has seemed more interested in considering a Senate bid than running for the House seat, but other Democrats could be thinking about joining this race after McSally’s cavalier approach to passing Trumpcare has helped make her look vulnerable.