Rep. Ruben Gallego’s Senate ambitions have been clear for a while. But now that the Democratic congressman has officially announced his campaign to challenge independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Democrats hoping to succeed him in Congress have begun laying the groundwork for their own 2024 campaigns.
Arizona’s 3rd District, which encompasses a significant portion of Phoenix’s urban communities, is far and away the bluest congressional district in the state. Joe Biden carried the district by more than 50 points in 2020, so the race to replace Gallego will be decided in the Democratic primary. Arizona’s primaries are typically held in August, giving potential candidates a long runway to prepare their campaigns.
One of three Democratic-held congressional districts in the state, the 3rd District is likely to draw interest from a wide range of Democrats in Phoenix. The last time this seat was open was 2014, when Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor retired after serving in Congress for nearly 25 years. Gallego, then a state legislator, won the Democratic primary with 49 percent, defeating three other candidates including Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor backed by Pastor.
The (Potential) Candidates
In the days since Gallego’s announcement, several Democrats have shown interest in running for the seat. Phoenix City Council Member Laura Pastor — Ed Pastor’s daughter — was the first to comment publicly, tweeting Tuesday morning that she would “look at pursuing the…