Republican roots have run deep in Arizona for decades, but the wave of 2006 and 2008 swept across the Grand Canyon State, putting Democrats in control of three Republican-leaning House seats. In one of those districts, the battleground swing seat of Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District, sits out-of-touch Democrat Gabby Giffords. Her repeated negligence of the conservative tendencies of her constituents and the current border security crisis affecting Arizona has Giffords facing a strong challenge from Republican nominee Jesse Kelly.
Gabby Giffords is often described as a close ally to President Obama and the White House, and embodies everything that is wrong with the out-of-touch Democrat majority. She has voted for the Democrat agenda almost 90 percent of the time and has readily supported everything from a failed trillion-dollar stimulus to a job-killing national energy tax and a disastrous healthcare bill. This kind of unbridled support may have won her popularity amongst the partisan Democratic caucus, but not with Arizona voters. Giffords’ biggest political weakness, however, stems from her reluctance to stand in favor of stronger border security measures, which is likely the most important issue on the minds of voters in this border district.
After repeatedly putting Arizonan’s economic vitality and jobs on the line, Giffords is now at risk of losing her own to Republican Jesse Kelly this November. Kelly has a proven track record as a leader, having served in the United States Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently works as a project manager, running multi-million dollar infrastructure projects for his family’s construction business based in Tucson. In addition to his efforts in defending American freedoms and creating jobs in his local community, Jesse is also a proud husband and father to his wife Aubrey and infant son James.
Politically, Arizona’s Eighth District is split, with the conservative vote coming from Cochise County. The district has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+4 and elected John McCain in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote and George W. Bush in 2004 with 53 percent of the vote. The district includes all of Tucson and the eastern half of surrounding Pima County. It also includes small portions of Santa Cruz and Pinal counties and all of Cochise County, Douglas and Sierra Vista.
With anti-Democrat sentiment mounting, Giffords will have a hard time hiding from her failed policies which have led to high unemployment and joblessness in Arizona. With Republican Jesse Kelly posing a strong challenge from the right, Arizona’s Eighth District has a good chance of swinging his way this fall.