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3:24 AM Thu, Nov. 22nd

Tobin won't run for Congress, but will seek re-election to state House

House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden

House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, told The Daily Courier Monday morning he that he will not run for the 4th Congressional District seat.

Tobin had been considering the job for weeks. Three other Republicans already have announced they are seeking the job, but none are from Tobin's home base of Yavapai County, where Tobin said he was getting a lot of support.

"It's late in the day to raise money, and I've got a commitment to help Republicans keep the (Arizona) House majority and help Mitt Romney," Tobin said. "Sometimes the public likes to know that people are making decisions for others, rather than themselves."

Tobin will run for the Arizona House this fall, but the law limits him to just one more consecutive term there. He has served three terms since 2006.

Tobin hopes his Republican colleagues will support him as speaker next year, too.

"We are coming back from our worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," Tobin said in a written announcement shortly after speaking to The Daily Courier. "While Arizona's fiscal health has improved dramatically over the past two years, there is still much that needs to be done. I intend to continue my work here at home as Speaker of the House. I have a longer-term vision for moving Arizona forward."

Tobin acknowledged to the Courier that whatever Republican wins in the newly redistricted conservative CD4 could probably hold that position for many terms.

However, "If I serve two more years in the House and the worse thing I have is to go home, that's fine," he said.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Flagstaff, Arizona Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu all have announced their candidacy for CD4.

Tobin said he had heard constituents raise specific concerns about each of those candidates.

Gosar abandoned the newly drawn CD1 to run in CD4 where it's easier for a Republican to win, Tobin said. Gould is having a hard time raising money, Tobin added, and Babeu "has his issues," referring to federal and state investigations stemming from Babeu's relationship with a male campaign worker from Mexico.

Gould's financial picture brightened Tuesday when he received an endorsement from the powerful conservative Club for Growth, which has one of the largest Super PACs in the country.

Tobin's fellow Legislative District 1 legislators said he would have made a great congressman, but they are happy for the opportunity to keep working with Tobin in Phoenix.

"It's good for the district for Andy to stay where he is, and great for Prescott, but he would also have been good in Congress," said Senate President Steve Pierce, R-Prescott. "I'm excited he's going to still be working with me."

Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said she told Tobin she'd support whatever he chose to do, although she told him she was concerned about him delaying a decision on the CD4 race since numerous debates already have taken place and nomination petitions are due in just a few weeks.

"He would say, 'I've got to finish the job I was elected to do first,'" Fann related. The legislative session ended Thursday.

Tobin said he really wasn't leaning one way or another about the CD4 job until Monday.

His family was supportive of whatever he decided, "although I think I'd be lying to say they'd want me flying to Washington every week," Tobin said.

Tobin is a co-chair of Romney's Arizona campaign for president.