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Thu, Dec. 05

Kirkpatrick challenges Gosar to debates

Just a day after Tuesday's primary election, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick challenged Republican primary winner Paul Gosar to five debates.

She proposed debating in late September and early October in Yavapai County, Casa Grande, the White Mountains and Flagstaff, with a fifth televised debate to be determined.

"It is crucial that we give voters an opportunity to hear from both of us directly in their communities," Kirkpatrick said in a written statement. The rural district is one of the largest in the country, covering 58,000 square miles.

Gosar definitely will participate in debates, although it's too early to say how many and when, responded his campaign manager, J.P. Twist.

Kirkpatrick has received criticism for conducting "tele-town halls" over the phone instead of in person, Twist noted.

"I think Kirkpatrick and her staff see the writing on the wall," Twist said.

Kirkpatrick has stated that tele-town halls allow more people across the vast district to keep in touch with her.

Gosar, a Flagstaff dentist, beat seven other candidates in the 1st Congressional District primary election Tuesday. It was his first run for public office, but he raised the most money.

By Wednesday afternoon the tally had 31 percent of the votes going to Gosar, 23 percent to Sydney Hay, 16 percent to Bradley Beauchamp, 14 percent to Rusty Bowers, 8 percent to Steve Mehta, 3 percent to Tom Zaleski, and 2 percent each to Joe Jaraczewski and Jon Jensen.

Gosar now faces off against Kirkpatrick on Nov. 2.

Coincidentally, Gosar's brother also was seeking a prominent elected position this year.

His brother Pete lost the Aug. 17 Democratic primary for governor in Wyoming, where the brothers grew up. As a pilot for the Wyoming Department of Transportation, he regularly flies the governor and state officials around the state. He was a University of Wyoming football standout.

He came in second in the five-way race with 37 percent of the votes compared to 48 percent for primary winner Leslie Petersen, a former Teton County commissioner and state party chair.

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