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4:44 AM Wed, Nov. 14th

Gosar deciding where to run in 2012

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>
Congressman Paul Gosar answers questions from members of the audience Thursday night during a town hall meeting at the Prescott Resort.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br> Congressman Paul Gosar answers questions from members of the audience Thursday night during a town hall meeting at the Prescott Resort.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar was evasive during a town hall meeting in Prescott Thursday night about whether he will switch congressional districts so he can run for his second term in a more Republican-friendly region in 2012.

"I've got a skill set, and I've got to look at what of two areas I can benefit," Gosar said.

Newly drawn tentative final congressional districts put Gosar's hometown of Flagstaff in the 1st District with a stronger majority of Democrats than before.

Prescott and most of Yavapai County ended up in a Republican-dominated 4th District with no current incumbent.

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, said Gosar asked him what he thought about Gosar moving to Prescott. Tobin said it's a bad idea.

"That district over there will feel abandoned," Tobin said. "And it doesn't make sense to get a newcomer in a district at risk."

Tobin said people have asked him to run for CD4 but he wouldn't consider it until the congressional maps are finalized, including the required U.S. Department of Justice review.

Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick of Flagstaff, who lost her seat to Gosar in 2010, is running in the new CD1.

In response to questions from The Daily Courier and town hall participants Thursday, Gosar said he'll announce within a week what district he'll run in. Unlike state legislators, the law technically allows him to stay in Flagstaff and run in another district. He wouldn't say Thursday whether he'd move if he chooses to run in CD4.

"I'd love to represent Yavapai County," he said. "You folks are some of the ones that pushed me over (to win) in this last election." Yavapai is one of the most conservative counties in the state.

Arizona Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, formed an exploratory committee in early December to consider running in CD4.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announced his Republican candidacy for CD4 on Wednesday.

Babeu is speaking to the Highway 69 Republicans group Tuesday in Dewey, alongside former Arizona senator Russell Pearce of Mesa.

Gosar criticized the congressional map created by the Independent Redistricting Commission, predicting a lawsuit as well as asserting the U.S. Supreme Court will likely get involved as it did in Texas. He also thinks the map will change.

Read Saturday's Daily Courier for more details about Gosar's Prescott town hall.