The Arizona redistricting process has made Democrat U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran even more vulnerable to a Republican challenger.
Prior to redistricting, Representative O’Halleran’s then-AZ-1 had a partisan rating of R+6 according to the website FiveThirtyEight. After redistricting changed boundaries and district numbers, O’Halleran is running in AZ-2, which is now rated a R+15.
The race is rated “Likely Republican” by the Cook Political Report and O’Halleran is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats targeted for defeat in the country.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is in charge of redistricting in the state. Its website states its mission.
The Independent Redistricting Commission’s mission is to redraw Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts to reflect the results of the most recent census. The concept of one-person, one-vote dictates that districts should be roughly equal in population.
Other factors to be considered are the federal Voting Rights Act, district shape, geographical features, respect for communities of interest, and potential competitiveness. The state Constitution requires the commissioners – two Republicans, two Democrats, and an independent chairperson – to start from scratch rather than redraw existing districts.
The commission adopted the new congressional maps in December of 2021.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, first reported by Roll Call, has shared its list of targeted seats for Republican takeover, and O’Halleran’s seat is prominent on the list. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is “a political committee devoted to increasing the number of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Targeted districts by the NRCC receive increased attention and resources, access to more funds and donors, and attract top-tier campaign staff.
Combat veteran Eli Crane leads the Republican field in fundraising by a wide margin, having brought in north of $810,000, with just over $312,000 of it on hand. The FEC also lists Douglas Lowell, Brandon Martin, Ronald Watkins, Lucretia Free, Mark Deluzio, and Steven Krystofiak as having filed paperwork to run.
O’Halleran has $1,272,591 on hand.
O’Halleran began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017, after he defeated Republican Paul Babeu and Green Party candidate Ray Parrish in the general election, achieving 51% of the vote.
In 2018, he defeated Republican nominee Wendy Rogers with 54% of the vote. In 2020, O’Halleran beat Republican nominee Tiffany Shedd with 51.6% of the vote.
O’Halleran is currently a Democrat, but was previously a Republican. He was a Republican when he served in served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007. He was elected to the Arizona State Senate as a Republican as well, serving from 2007-2009. He lost a Republican primary in 2008 and was unseated by Steve Pierce.
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