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7:17 AM Thu, Sept. 20th

Tobin to run for Congress

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, says he will seek the 1st Congressional District seat in 2014.

Tobin is likely to face at least two other Republicans in the primary, including another member of the Legislature who already announced, before the winner takes on incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick of Flagstaff.

"It's kind of hard sitting around here trying to solve problems in Arizona when you've got the feds continuing to punch you in the gut like they do, and Ann Kirkpatrick is part of the problem," Tobin said.

Tobin lives in the 4th Congressional District, although it's not far away from CD1. His Legislative District 1 included Flagstaff, Williams, Tusayan and all of the Verde Valley until 2012 when decadal redistricting took place. He has lived in Yavapai County since 1993 including Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey and now Paulden.

He is serving his fourth term in the state House so he won't be eligible to run for the state House again.

Tobin said he didn't run for CD4 last time because he wanted to finish his job as speaker. Instead, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar moved his stated residency from CD1 in Flagstaff to CD4 in Prescott and won last year.

Tobin doesn't have to live in the congressional district he represents, but he does have to live in the legislative district he represents. He said when he wins CD1, he will have a second home there to better represent that huge district.

Tobin doesn't have to quit his job as House speaker while running for CD1 because of a change in the state's resign-to-run law.

Tobin criticized Obamacare and the federal government shutdown, saying the Obama Administration is hurting Arizona's economy, mismanaging its forests, and putting its power sources at risk by trying to add regulations on the Navajo Generating Station.

He said Wednesday he's trying to help get the Grand Canyon National Park back open during the federal government shutdown, but the Obama administration won't accept private or state help.

He criticized Kirkpatrick for voting against House bills that would grant budget money to veterans and national parks so they could reopen.

"The House GOP is now introducing piecemeal bills that pick winners and losers for funding," Kirkpatrick said on her website, and the Republicans know the bills are doomed in the Senate.

CD1 is the state's largest district, running from Flagstaff through eastern Arizona counties and then west into parts of Pinal County. It includes the Navajo Nation, where Kirkpatrick has strong support.

"If they call a carpetbagger somebody that is as close to the line as I can be and was carved out, it is what it is. But I am the rural legislator with the most experience," Tobin told the Associated Press last month while he was considering a run for CD1. "Clearly I'm the only one with a record cutting taxes, growing jobs, fighting for a pro-life agenda."

First-term Arizona Rep. Adam Kwasman of Oro Valley and Springerville businessman and rancher Gary Kiehne, a political newcomer, already announced their candidacy for the Republican nomination in CD1.

Republicans believe they have a good chance of wresting the district from Kirkpatrick, who was ousted after one term in 2010 but took back the seat in 2012 even though presidential candidate Mitt Romney won in the district. Of the district's approximately 374,000 registered voters, Democrats have 143,000 and Republicans 114,000. But there also are 115,000 independents, and the district can swing to either party with their votes.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.