ARIZONA NEWS

No lacking for backing: Tight 1st District race racks up endorsements

May 25, 2014, 8:54 AM | Updated: 8:54 am

WASHINGTON — It may be too early for predictions in the competitive race for Arizona’s congressional 1st District seat, but one thing is almost certain.

Democratic incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick will get at least 90 votes and Andy Tobin, one of her GOP challengers, will get at least 35. Those are the number or endorsements that each campaign is trumpeting on their websites and in a steady rain of press releases.

But do voters really care that Kirkpatrick is endorsed by a former Pinal County attorney or that three Yavapai County supervisors endorse Tobin?

The experts agree: It depends.

“In a close race you can argue that everything makes a difference,” said Bill Adams, professor of public policy at George Washington University.

And the 1st District race is expected to be a close race.

The sprawling eastern Arizona district has been identified by national groups as one of the most competitive in the nation. And while Kirkpatrick, a Flagstaff Democrat, does not currently have a primary challenger, Tobin is one of three Republicans in the race, along with businessman Gary Kiehne and Rep. Adam Kwasman of Oro Valley.

Kwasman and Kiehne also have endorsements – Kwasman from some fellow state lawmakers and Kiehne from former Rep. Duncan Hunter of California – but neither touts their endorsements like Tobin and Kirkpatrick do.

Kirkpatrick’s endorsements range from tribal leaders to former and current state lawmakers and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, the Democrat’s 2012 nominee for U.S. Senate in Arizona.

Tobin, the speaker of the Arizona House, touts endorsements from local business leaders, police and firefighters’ groups, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee in 2012.

“Endorsements typically lend the credibility of the endorser to the candidate,” said Craig Handzlik, Tobin’s campaign manager.

“For instance, we just got the endorsement of Gov. Mitt Romney not too long ago,” Handzlik said. “And with that comes a lot of support that Gov. Romney picked up when he won Arizona in 2012, including a win in our congressional district.”

Endorsements from bigger names can help with fundraising, too, Handzlik said.

And endorsements can confer more than cash on a candidate, said a Kirkpatrick campaign official.

“I think what it does is it gives validity to a candidate’s point of view,” said D.B. Mitchell, a spokesman for Kirkpatrick’s campaign.

“If you see people that you respected from your community, if you see the supervisor of the school your child goes to, if you see a former mayor that you really like endorse somebody, those things are going to matter for you,” he said.

But political science experts are less enthusiastic about the impact of endorsements.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor for Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said endorsements probably don’t matter very much. They can be a way for campaigns to get good press, but he said they probably are not meaningful unless they come from someone prominent or someone from the opposite party.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said the effect of an endorsement varies with the candidate and the endorser.

“A well-known and well-liked endorser can help an endorsee,” Brown said in an emailed statement. “But except in rare circumstances it is not a huge asset.”

The campaigns can continue to pepper their websites and supporters’ inboxes with news about endorsements, but in the end no one can really know how much they help a campaign.

“It’s a tricky topic,” Adams said. “I think the evidence is that they are sometimes pivotal, crucial and important and sometimes inconsequential and trivial.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Preston Mark was assaulted in Park in August 2020. (FBI Photo)...

KTAR.com

Reward of up to $10,000 offered for information in death of 61-year-old Arizona man

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information about the death of a 61-year-old Arizona man in 2020.

1 hour ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

2 hours ago

A 43-year-old man died after driving his vehicle into the bottom of a dry canal in Phoenix on Feb. ...

KTAR.com

43-year-old man dead after driving vehicle into canal in Phoenix

A 43-year-old man died after driving his vehicle into the bottom of a dry canal in Phoenix on Tuesday evening, authorities said.

3 hours ago

A dust storm rolled through metro Phoenix on Feb. 28, 2024. (ADOT Photo)...

KTAR.com

Dust storm rolls through metro Phoenix during evening rush hour

Metro Phoenix drivers headed home during evening rush hour had to fight through a dust storm on Wednesday.

4 hours ago

A student was found with a gun at Youngker High School in Buckeye on Feb. 28, 2024. (Google Maps Sc...

KTAR.com

Student found with gun at West Valley high school

A student was found with a gun at a West Valley high school on Wednesday, authorities said.

5 hours ago

The front end blade of an Arizona Department of Transportation snowplow...

Kevin Stone

Here’s the scoop: ADOT reveals results of name-a-snowplow contest

After tallying more than 9,500 votes, the Arizona Department of Transportation revealed three winners for its second name-a-snowplow contest.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

No lacking for backing: Tight 1st District race racks up endorsements