Hay wins congressional race second time around
The second time was a charm for mining lobbyist Sydney Hay late Tuesday as she apparently beat out Prescott attorney Sandra Livingstone in a tight 1st Congressional District Republican primary race.
Hay will face Democratic Flagstaff attorney Ann Kirkpatrick and Independent businessman Brent Maupin of Sedona in the Nov. 4 general election. Libertarian write-in candidate Thane Eichenauer of Phoenix also is trying to get on the general election ballot by gathering enough primary votes, which counties have yet to count.
Kirkpatrick easily beat out her three primary opponents Tuesday. Republican incumbent Rick Renzi, who faces a spring trial on 35 criminal indictments, is not seeking re-election.
Hay lost a crowded CD-1 race in 2002 to Renzi, but this time around she garnered 38.8 percent of the votes compared to Livingstone's 34.4 percent, or an extra 1,802 votes. Livingstone entered the race much later.
"The fact that Livingstone did so well ... suggests that the Republicans are not united in their approach to this election," observed Fred Solop, chair of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. It will be interesting to see if Hay can unite voters, he said.
While various news organizations have pegged Hay as the winner, Livingstone said Wednesday she wants to see the results of about 7,500 more ballots before officially conceding.
"I just want to know what the results are," said Livingstone, estimating that the final results could be clearer by Friday.
Hay raised at least $412,000 compared to Livingstone's $227,000, a figure that includes Livingstone's personal loan of $200,000.
Kirkpatrick has raised at least $1.1 million, and the Democratic National Congressional Campaign has promised her $1.7 million for TV ads during the general election cycle.
The huge rural district covers parts of eight counties, and Hay took six of them in the primary. Tom Hansen won his home county of Apache and came in third with 17.3 percent of the vote in the four-way race, while Barry Hall got six percent.
Livingstone took Navajo County, where she said she did a lot of campaigning, including a speech at the ranch of former CD-1 candidate Lewis Tenney with Barry Goldwater Jr. in attendance. Livingstone was behind Hay in Yavapai County by only 117 votes, with 9,328 votes compared to Hay's 9,445 votes.
Hay was especially strong in Gila and Graham counties, where she figured the mining communities helped her quite a bit. She is president of the Arizona Mining Association.
Hay admitted it was a risky strategy to focus her advertising on Kirkpatrick before the primary election. But apparently it worked.
"I knew if I focused on the Republican primary voters ... I wouldn't be known to the general electorate," Hay said.
While CD-1 has more Democrats than Republicans, they are not liberal Democrats, Hay noted, and its Independents are conservative.
She said internal polling shows she is gaining on Kirkpatrick, and the margin is smaller than the polling margin of error.
"I think that shows the district is exceedingly winnable," Hay said. "I think they're going to try to buy the seat, and I don't think we're going to let them."
Solop said that while the district leans Democratic, Republicans do have some advantages in the general election.
Republicans tend to have higher turnouts in the CD-1 general elections, and the McCain campaign likely will energize them even more, Solop said. State ballot initiatives such as the proposed ban on gay marriage also might draw more Republicans to the polls.
More than half of Yavapai County's registered Republicans (50.7 percent) voted in the primary, the best turnout of any county in Arizona.
Yavapai County also produced 57 percent of the Republican voters in the election.
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