The Republic | azcentral.com
However, candidate interviews can sometimes throw curve balls, and this one left us bewildered.
For an hour, Kirkpatrick ridiculed, belittled, cut off and scolded her opponent in a manner that exceeded rudeness. We have seen more complete meltdowns in our board meetings but never one so unexpected.
Kirkpatrick has always seemed the even-tempered embodiment of rural Arizona, someone who lived the life and talked the talk. So, it was jarring to see her unbounded contempt for opponent Jonathan Paton.
He calmly defended his record and made his most difficult case that someone who was only recently an outsider could represent the district and its concerns. Kirkpatrick called him a carpetbagger. Paton responded that the district already knows Kirkpatrick and wants him. To back that up, Paton touted his endorsements from mayors and council members throughout the district, from places like Marana, Taylor, Show Low, Safford and Globe.
Asked what she learned from losing her congressional seat in 2010, Kirkpatrick whiffed. The 62-year-old Flagstaff Democrat said she lost because Republicans were winning just about everything that cycle. That left Paton to fill in the blanks, and he did, arguing that her votes on the Obama health-care overhaul and economic stimulus sent her packing.
Paton is a 41-year-old establishment Republican who lost his own attempt in 2010 to capture then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' seat. An Army reservist and Iraq War veteran, he served in the state House and Senate from 2005 to 2010. The great achievement of his legislative career was working with Rep. Kirk Adams to impose reforms on Child Protective Services, making the agency more transparent.
Paton is a jobs hawk who supports the development of the Resolution Copper mine, which could bring thousands of jobs to rural Arizona. In that way, he is not unlike Kirkpatrick. What sets them apart is composure. She lost hers during a significant test for this endorsement. He did not.
The Arizona Republic recommends voters choose Jonathan Paton in the newly drawn District 1.
New polling release earlier this week show Jonathan Paton with a 5% lead in the Race for AZ CD-1!