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Former Republican state lawmaker Jonathan Paton announced this morning he'll seek election in the new Congressional District 1 this fall.

That's the sprawling district that will stretch from Oro Valley to the northern state border with Utah. It includes Flagstaff and the Navajo and Hopi reservations. It's one of three districts that includes the Tucson metropolitan area, it takes in much of Oro Valley and Marana.

Former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), is also running for that seat. She represented the district but was ousted by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R), who says he'll run in another district this year.

The district lines are changing for the fall elections, because the redistricting process redraws the district lines once a decade, according to population changes.

Paton made the announcement today, but records from the Federal Election Commission do not show he's filed as a candidate in the race.

Ann Kirkpatrick CD1 Jonathan Paton,


Ban Amnesty Now is a self-described “national, conservative research and education organization” aimed at stopping amnesty for illegal immigrants. Russell Pearce had previously worked with the organization, but now is the group’s president.

While Pearce was in the legislature he helped push though SB 1070 among other immigration related bills.

In addition to running Ban Amnesty Now, Pearce will also host a weekly radio show put on by the group.


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Republicans who want to vote in the Feb. 28 presidential primary election in Arizona must register to vote no later than midnight Monday, Jan. 30.

Register at a party office, a candidate's campaign office, at a local, county or state elections office or online, by clicking here.

The Arizona primary has been moved up to give the state a say in the party's nominee. With three winners in the first three nominating states and a dogfight under way for Florida's big bloc of delegates, the contest is almost certain to still be open come Feb. 28.

Michigan will hold its primary the same day as Arizona.

Arizona presidential primary election Feb 28 voter registration,


The list is short at the moment, but a good number of politicians and would-be politicians in Southern Arizona are doing a check-in today to determine if they can win a seat in Congress.

Sunday's announcement by Gabrielle Giffords that she will resign this week has set off the political scramble.

Giffords' announcement overall wasn't a surprise. There had been hints about it from her and her husband, Mark Kelly, for a while. But the timing caught people off guard.

Why now? state Sen. Frank Antenori asked rhetorically. The Republican from Vail already has an exploratory committee at work on a fall candidacy for Congress, and now he is looking at the special election, too. He says he won't make a decision until Giffords' official resignation, expected in two or three days.

One other Republican was doing exploratory work, Dave Sitton, a radio sports announcer from Tucson.

No Democrats had gotten that far, deferring to Giffords. But now several are talking, or being talked about.

State Rep. Steve Farley of Tucson is says he would run if Giffords asked him to or suggested it. Other names mentioned have included state Sen. Paula Aboud, state Rep. Matt Heinz, lawyer and former Giffords campaign chairman Michael McNulty and his wife and lawyer Linda McNulty.

Stay tuned. The list of names is certain to grow as the week wears on.

Dave Sitton Frank Antenori Gabrielle Giffords Linda McNulty Michael McNulty Steve Farley,


The Arizona Republic reports that President Obama will visit Phoenix next week as part of a five-state trip following his State of the Union speech. Read the Republic story here.

Obama's visit should be taken as a sign that he considers Arizona a swing state, despite having lost to favorite son John McCain in 2008.

As noted in the Republic story, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Democratic National Committee chairwoman, says "all the ingredients are here for Arizona to be in play," including a growing Hispanic population that should favor Democrats.

Arizona politics Obama Wasserman Schultz,


Tucson’s new mayor, Jonathan Rothschild, has done the politically improbable only six weeks in office: He got a significant issue off his desk, calming for now a growing herd of angry Tucsonans.

The mayor announced a deal to move both of Reid Park Zoo’s elephants to San Diego, keeping them together as many Tucson residents had demanded.

As a native, Rothschild must know the perils of pachyderm politics in the Old Pueblo. The admonition that you can’t fight City Hall gets flipped around when it comes to Tucson and its elephants. City leaders have gotten their trunks caught in the ringer more than once over these giants.

Our latest elephantine episode was on the cusp of controversy when the deal with San Diego was struck.

For you newcomers, here’s an abbreviated history of Tucson’s elephant issues.

Our first zoo elephant was Sabu, an Asian male bought from a petting zoo when he was two years old in 1966. By 1970, he was a big brute, and his nasty disposition included knocking a zookeeper around.

That led the zoo commission to sign his death warrant. But a cacophony of trumpeting arose from the populace, and the City Council voted unanimously to spare him and instead put the zoo commission to death by abolishing it.

Sabu died in 1981, and his passing merited a top-of-page-one obituary in one local newspaper.

And did you know that in the 1970s, a circus elephant died in Tucson? Its carcass was claimed by scientists who wanted to watch it decompose. So it was unceremoniously deposited on the slope of Tumamoc Hill as a science experiment. There, it drew more curiosity than controversy.

Yes, we love our elephants in Tucson. Keep that in mind if you have your eye on local elective office.

Just ask Mayor Rothschild, who now has in his brief political career already successfully dealt with the elephant in the room.

Jonathan Rothschild Reid Park zoo Sabu the elephant Tumamoc Hill elephants,

About Political Buzz

News, commentary, analysis from the AZPM political team: Christopher Conover, Andrea Kelly, Michael Chihak.