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3:20 PM Thu, Sept. 20th

Tobin will not seek Congressional District 1 seat

AP file photo<br>
Ann Kirkpatrick, right, and Andy Tobin shake hands after a Congressional District 1 debate on Oct. 14, 2014, at Mountain View High School in Tucson.

AP file photo<br> Ann Kirkpatrick, right, and Andy Tobin shake hands after a Congressional District 1 debate on Oct. 14, 2014, at Mountain View High School in Tucson.

Andy Tobin, former state representative for Legislative District 1, will not seek election for Arizona Congressional District 1 in 2016, according to a statement issued Sunday, July 12.

"I'm confident that a Republican candidate will win CD1 back. But that candidate will not be me - I will not run for Arizona Congressional District One in 2016," Tobin stated in an email from his 2014 campaign manager, Bill Cortese Jr.

Tobin served in the legislature, representing the Prescott area, for eight years - four years as House Speaker - and then stood unsuccessfully for election to Congress against Ann Kirkpatrick in 2014. Kirkpatrick won by 5 percentage points. With Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, announcing in May her bid to challenge U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, her seat in the House of Representatives is up for grabs.

Tobin said after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on redistricting was finally resolved, "my wife Jennifer and I spent some time evaluating our option to campaign for Arizona Congressional District.

"We have been so blessed to have campaigned in such a beautiful district with an incredible diversity of people, landscape and commerce," he said. "We truly have enjoyed and appreciated the efforts of all our friends and family. The support and well wishes from communities, towns and county leaders as well as national and state wide support was very humbling, I will always remember the 2014 race as the most gratifying campaign I ever ran."

State Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said: "I am sorry to hear that Andy will not pursue running in CD1. Andy was a great (House) Speaker and had he chose to run I know he would have been a great congressman for Arizona."

Fann, who will be running for state Sen. Steve Pierce's seat in 2016 (Pierce is term limited), added that "another great candidate has announced" for CD1. Ken Bennett, former secretary of state, state senator - including Senate President - and Prescott city councilman, announced this past week he will seek the seat Kirkpatrick will vacate.

Tobin's decision not to run for CD1 centers, first, on the Supreme Court ruling.

"When we ran last year the possibility of new congressional lines was quite possible," he said.

"The AZ Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC), could not have been more disrespectful in their deliberation nor more partisan with their majority authority. I felt rural Arizona had been especially disrespected and the opportunity to serve my rural neighbors has always been high on my priority list."

Also, in meeting with leaders in CD1, who have encouraged him to pursue its congressional seat, Tobin is grateful for the support. He also met, however, people in the district who were not able to run in 2014 but now are seriously considering it.

"I do not live in the district, congressional lines are not being altered and I can't be certain that I will be able to make a move into the district even after the election," said Tobin, who lives in Paulden and would have to move to Flagstaff, for example, to be in CD1.

After eight years as an elected official in the Arizona Legislature, Tobin looks forward to serving "where I feel I can best help my beloved state. I will continue to look for other opportunities to serve Arizona and my country."

He also is grateful to be a part of Gov. Doug Ducey's cabinet, said Tobin, who currently heads up the Department of Weights and Measures.

The Prescott area is in Congressional District 4, represented by Republican Paul Gosar.

Tobin was unavailable for further comment. Kirkpatrick, Bennett and Gosar did not return calls prior to press time.

Follow Tim Wiederaenders on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2032, twieds@prescottaz.com or 928-420-6472.