by Craig Dimitri

Arizona’s 8th CD is a microcosm of the nation’s political choices in 2006. It consists of the southeastern part of the state along the border with Mexico, it is held by a retiring, long-serving moderate Republican, and a young Democrat is poised to capture it.  Even the British have taken an interest in it, as the BBC recently covered the contest.

U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) is retiring after a 22-year House career; he arrived in Washington simultaneously with Ronald Reagan’s re-election in 1984.  After serving with four different Presidents, he is vacating the seat.  On paper, it appears to be an open seat which the GOP would be well-positioned to hold.  President George W. Bush solidly carried the district, which includes part of the city of Tucson, against John F. Kerry in 2004, by a 53%-46% margin.  Kolbe has maintained his political strength, easily winning re-election with over 60% of the vote in 2002 and 2004.

But it appears that a 36-year-old Democrat, Gabrielle Giffords, will claim this red-state seat for her party.  In the most recent poll, conducted between Oct. 23-26 by the Arizona Star and Zimmerman and Associates, Giffords leads Republican opponent Randy Graf by a 48%-38% margin.  The sample of 600 likely voters had a 4 point margin of error.

Giffords campaign site –

Graf campaign site –


BBC article can be found at

Arizona Star/Zimmerman & Associates poll –

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at 

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