District 2 battle may help determine control of Congress

State Rep. Walt Blackman/File

By Peter Aleshire | PinalCentral

Redistricting has already given Republicans improved odds of taking over the House of Representatives in 2022– especially in the Arizona delegation.

Two Arizona Congressional seats now held by Democrats will most likely go to Republicans, including the sprawling District 2 – which includes Gila, Navajo and Apache counties, according to an analysis by the Cook Political Report.

Democrat Tom O’Halleran, a moderate Democrat elected three times in what was the most competitive district in Arizona, now finds himself in a “likely Republican” district, according to the Cook Political Report.

State Rep. Walt Blackman,R-Snowflake, is seeking the Republican nomination to run against O’Halleran in the redrawn district. Blackman has so far emphasized the unsubstantiated idea that the 2020 Arizona Presidential election was stolen, as well as the claim that Democrats want to force schools to teach critical race theory in K-12 schools.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, has said he will move to the new Congressional District 9, which has an iron-clad Republican majority.

Democrat Judy Stahl, a healthcare consultant, has dropped her run for the District 2 seat to endorse O’Halleran. She had originally launched her campaign to run against Gosar, when Gosar and O’Halleran lived in different districts.

The Cook Report also classified the new Arizona District 6 – with no incumbent – as “lean Republican.” The district covers much of southeastern Arizona – although Tucson is in adjacent District 7.

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