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Democratic lawmaker Kirsten Engel announces run for Congress

March 19, 2021 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Kirsten Engel of Tucson announced Friday she’s running for Congress, becoming the first major candidate to jump into the race to replace retiring Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.

Engel is an environmental law professor at University of Arizona. She was elected last year to her first term in the Arizona Senate following two terms in the House.

“I want to bring my experience as an attorney, legislator, woman, and mom to Washington to help southern AZ families and small businesses -- to not only recover from the global pandemic, but to take that next step to building a sustainable economy with opportunities for all,” Engel wrote on Twitter.

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Engel is likely to face a crowded field of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. Her potential rivals include state Rep. Randy Friese, who wrote on Twitter this week that he and his wife are “carefully and thoughtfully” planning for their future, and Pima County Supervisor Matt Heinz.

The 2nd Congressional District currently includes parts of Tucson and Southeastern Arizona, and is one of the most hotly contested in the state with races often decided by razor-thin margins. However, the boundaries will change due to redistricting ahead of the 2022 election.