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CD-2 House candidates point to credentials, legislative records

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 at 4:25 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 1, 2016 at 12:48 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Congressional District 2, tucked in the corner of southeastern Arizona, is considered the most competitive House race in America.

It's why it garners so much attention from both political parties during election years.

In the past two election cycles, a winner wasn't called until at least a week after the ballots were cast. Republican Martha McSally won in 2014 by 161 votes. She was defeated two years earlier by less than 1 percent of the vote.

The district in Cochise and Pima counties has about 160,000 Democrats and 159,000 Republicans. There are 129,000 others.

Since the district was formed following the 1980 census, three Democrats and two Republicans have won.

That's why the candidates usually tip towards the middle, and this year's election is no different.

While as in any campaign there are the normal negative attack ads, a conversation with the candidates finds them eager to tout their credentials and explain why they should be elected to represent a split district.

"Where can we find some agreement," McSally said. "But where can we find some agreement in order to get something through this House, through the Senate and signed by this president."

"I'm not going to get everything that I want for my district," Matt Heinz said. "But I'm going to be able to make some steps by compromising and working with others."

That ability to work both sides of the aisle, both agree, has borne fruit.

"In just 21 months, I've gotten nine bills passed and two of them signed into law," McSally said.

That kind of productivity puts her into rare territory. Only 6 percent of lawmakers have gotten two substantive laws passed, she points out, "and I'm in that 6 percent."

Heinz, on the other hand, says he was prolific during his four years in the Arizona State Legislature.

"I passed 13 bills," he said. "And I did so in a bipartisan fashion."

The two candidates like to play to their political strengths.

McSally was the first female fighter pilot in the Air Force and flew the A-10, which makes the jet's status near and dear to her heart.

She was instrumental is keeping the A-10 mission at Davis-Monthan Air Force base, and its $1.5 billion economic impact on the community intact.

Heinz is a medical doctor who is still practicing medicine at Tucson Medical Center.

He was instrumental in passing the Well Women's Health Check program in the state which screens women for cervical and breast cancer.

"(It has) brought in $32 million to the program in the past four years and has helped women survive breast and cervical cancer," he said. "But more than that, ... without going bankrupt."

Both Heinz and McSally will urge voters to check out their records.

"A lot of politicians and candidates talk about what they can do," McSally said. "People can look and see what I have done."

"Working with others and respecting others is something I did for four years in the legislature," Heinz said. "And I think very effectively."

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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