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Arizona-8

Polling Data

PollDateSampleGraf (R)Giffords (D)Und.Spread
Reuters/Zogby10/24 - 10/29500 LV41534Giffords +12
Wick10/25 - 10/28400 LV355011Giffords +15
Zimmerman10/20 - 10/23600 LV384810Giffords +10
Reuters/Zogby9/25 - 10/2500 LV374516Giffords +8
Bennett, Petts (D)9/19 - 9/21400 LV2954--Giffords +25
Az. Daily Star9/16 - 9/19600 LV364813Giffords +12
Greenberg Quinlan (D)9/13 - 9/18500 LV3554--Giffords +19
Az. Daily Star9/1 - 9/4800 LV364619Giffords +10
(October 28) No reason to think much is changed here; the last independent poll has Giffords up 10 points, 48% - 38%.

(October 3)
National Republicans appear to have pulled out of this district and with Giffords ahead double figures in the polls this looks like a pretty safe Democratic pickup. The illegal immigration issue gives Graf a long shot’s chance, but he is definitely the underdog.

(September 14) Arizona’s 8th Congressional District covers Tuscon and all that is southeast from the city. Tuscon tends to be more moderate in its politics than the state’s other major city Phoeniz – and the district’s slight Republican bent is due to Cochise County, where both Bisbee and Tombstone are located.

Jim Kolbe has been the representative from this district since 1984. He is retiring this year, and the party just recently nominated former state representative Randy Graf to replace him. Graf tried to unseat Kolbe in the GOP primary in 2004. He nearly succeeded, thanks to his very conservative stance on immigration, an issue of great salience in the 8th. Kolbe, and national Republicans, backed more moderate state representative Steve Huffman. However, Graf’s strong showing in Cochise carried him to the nomination. (More below....)


az-08.gifCandidates
Randy Graf (R)
Gabrielle Giffords (D)

Money Race

2004 Results
Congress
Kolbe (R) 60
Bacal (D) 36

President
Bush (R) 53
Kerry (D) 46

Part of this might have been due to the fact that, late in the primary campaign, news leaked that a GOP also-ran, Toni Hellon, had allegedly been spied upon by Huffman campaign treasurer Bill Arnold. So disappointed with Huffman’s response to this scandal was the Tuscon Weekly editorial board that it actually withdrew its endorsement of him.

The Democrats, meanwhile, rallied around former state senator Gabrielle Giffords, who had an easy time in the nomination.

The NRCC threw its weight behind Graf because they believed he was too conservative for this district, which is about 1/5th Hispanic. The big question: is it right? The district has a slight conservative bent to it. The conventional wisdom is that in a year as bad as this appears to be for the GOP, in an open seat as marginal as AZ 08, the Democrats have an advantage, especially against a candidate like Graf. While this district is certainly less vulnerable than TX 22, IA 01 or CO 07 – we should expect that, if the Democrats net more than 5 seats, they will pick this one up.