Though the election is 17 months away, several Arizonans are lining up to run for the state Legislature, including a former Maricopa City Councilman.
Already, Bridger Kimball, a Republican, and Barry McCain, a Democrat, have filed political committees in preparation for campaigning for a House seat in 2018.
State Sen. Steve Smith’s announcement he will challenge Rep. Tom O’Halleran for his seat in the U.S. Congress was the harbinger of shifting within Legislative District 11, which includes Maricopa. The district’s current contingent is Smith in the state Senate, and Vince Leach and Mark Finchem in the state House. All are Republicans.
While Finchem, who lives in Oro Valley, has filed a committee to run for re-election, Leach has shifted his intentions to the state Senate. That leaves one representative seat wide open.
Leach said despite his work in the House, he is more familiar with the Senate side because his introduction to the Legislature came in 2009 when he worked with then-Sen. Al Melvin’s office to get an investment law changed.
Leach said he thinks it is important for the GOP to “retain and represent LD11 in a manner Steve brought to 11 and before that Sen. Melvin.” He said his party is actively “looking for and looking at” potential candidates to fill the House seat he would vacate. He said he has not yet spoken to Kimball.
Kimball was most recently a member of the Maricopa City Council, losing his bid for re-election in November. A former Marine, he owns Caswells Shooting Range in Mesa.
During the last legislative election, McCain ran as a write-in. He is a Navy veteran from Casa Grande.
Filing a political committee with the Secretary of State’s office is the first step to becoming a candidate. Official nomination forms cannot be filed until May 2.
Kimball did not return calls seeking comment.