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Beating Raul

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Former state Sen. Amanda Aguirre

Former state Sen. Amanda Aguirre hasn’t even thrown her hat into the ring yet, but the buzz about the likelihood has begun. The race for Arizona’s 7th Congressional District, should Aguirre decide to run, ought to be interesting—she’d be up against incumbent Congressman Raul Grijalva.

Aguirre will likely jab about how Grijalva’s call for a boycott of Arizona (after the Legislature adopted S.B. 1070 last year) created a backlash within his own party, nearly resulting in the congressman losing his seat in the heavily Democratic district to Republican political unknown Ruth McClung. And Aguirre contends that Grijalva’s constituents in his rural district complain that he’s never around.

“She’s wrong,” counters Grijalva, who says he’s hesitant to start a debate until Aguirre actually announces her candidacy. “I’ve advocated for businesses in rural areas, and have made sure they have access to the government’s rural assistance programs.”

If Aguirre does become a candidate in the race, Grijalva says, she’ll have to answer to voters who want to know why, when she was a senator, “she walked out on the vote for [immigration reform] Senate Bill 1070, a critical vote for the whole state.”

“I did vote against 1070 the first time,” Aguirre told Latino Perspectives. “When it came back [to the Senate from the House], I did miss that vote,” she admits, citing a family medical emergency as her reason. 

Grijalva stands firm that he won’t banter until and unless Aguirre officially joins the race. Until then, he says, his voting record stands for itself. And what about that boycott story that keeps dogging him?

“In my mind, and in most people’s minds, the boycott is a dead issue,” he insists. “My voting record is open and very strong, and speaks for itself.”

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