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Monday, November 28, 2005

AZ-08: Kolbe (R) Retiring

Posted by DavidNYC

I missed this one b/c it hit right before Thanksgiving, but it's important news: Republican incumbent Jim Kolbe, who represents Arizona's 8th CD, is retiring. This is big because Kolbe has long been quite popular, but AZ-08 is otherwise a very close district. In fact, it's the third-most Dem district in AZ, going for Bush by just 53-46.5 over Kerry. (Gore did even better, losing by just two points.)

Kolbe is the fifth Republican incumbent to retire this term. (Jonathan Singer lists the other four here.) This is the sort of race we simply must be competitive in. Though the DCCC doesn't list any candidates, ActBlue indicates that Jeff Latas, a former Air Force fighter pilot, has already thrown his hat into the ring.

Doubtless other names will soon surface, now that Kolbe's departing - and even MoveOn is soliciting "nominations" for candidates to replace the incumbent. (Looks basically like a straw poll, though it's not clear if MoveOn plans to release a finally tally.) Anyhow, this seat just moved on to the list of interesting races. It's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Posted at 01:47 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Technorati

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This district immediately moves to a top-tier pickup opportunity for Democrats. I can't remember the GOP frontrunner's name to fill Kolbe's shoes, but I've read he's far more conservative and polarizing that Kolbe ever was. Getting that magic number of 16 new seats seems more doable all the time.

By the way, what was the margin in AZ-01 in 2004? I would have thought Kerry had won that district given the double-digit margins he scored in Coconino and Apache Counties.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 03:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

54-45 - right behind AZ-08. Subscribe to US Election Atlas and you, too, can see it all. :)

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 03:37 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I must admit I have mixed feelings about Congressman Kolbe's retirement. I agree with everything Mark and David said -- this is a moderate district that is very winnable -- and would never have been in play had Kolbe ran again.

That said, as a gay man I think Congressman Kolbe played a very important role in a party that treated him in an at-times disgraceful way. He's a good man who represented his district well, and gave much more to the Republican Party than he ever got in return.

Posted by: IndianaProgressive [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 07:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment