Chip for Congress?<br>Davis, Bennett say campaign not likely

Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis said he was surprised to see his name on a list of potential congressional candidates in the Arizona Republic newspaper recently.

The newspaper listed Davis as well as State Sen. Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, as potential congressional candidates if draft district maps don’t change and long-time incumbent Bob Stump lives elsewhere.

But both Bennett and Davis say they’re not likely to run.

"Right now, I think going back to the Senate is most likely," said Bennett, who also has considered running for state schools superintendent. "I really didn’t expect that Yavapai County would end up in a congressional district without Bob Stump."

Now that Senate Majority Leader Rusty Bowers plans to resign, Bennett thinks he has a pretty good shot at that position. Plus, he noted, Senate President Randall Gnant won’t be able to run again next year because of term limits.

Davis said he’s already committed to helping Matt Salmon with his run for governor next year.

"I wouldn’t rule it (Congressional candidacy) out, no – but I’m quite happy with what I do," Davis said.

Both Davis and Yavapai County Supervisor Lorna Street were somewhat shocked by the sheer size of the draft of the congressional district that would include the northern two-thirds of this county. It is by far the largest draft district in the state, stretching all the way from Littlefield on the Arizona Strip to Safford in southeast Arizona.

"I don’t know how one guy would ever cover it," Street said. "There’s no way you could get to your constituents without an airplane."

Putting Northern Arizona in with Safford is "bizarre," Yavapai County Republican Party Chairman Steve Pierce said.

Stump definitely is upset at the boundaries, according to his chief of staff, Lisa Atkins.

Stump’s official Arizona residence in Tolleson now falls within a much more urban district, she observed.

Stump will run for a 14th term, but he hasn’t decided where, Atkins said. He could seek to represent a district where he doesn’t reside.

The U.S. Constitution requires every member of Congress to live in the state that he or she represents, said Jessica Funkhouser, state elections director.

But in a case concerning term limits, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot add to the qualifications laid out in the U.S. Constitution, Funkhouser related.

Every other elected official in Arizona has to reside in the district that he or she represents, she said.

(The Independent Redistricting Commission will seek public comments about the draft Congressional and legislative maps before making them final. The only public meeting in this county takes place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St. All the commissioners are scheduled to attend. The commission will also have a public hearing Sept. 6 at 6:30 at Flagstaff City Hall.

To learn more about the Redistricting Commission and the draft maps, go to the commission’s Web site at www.azredistricting.org, or call the commission toll-free at 866-864-7569.)

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