Sprawling Congressional District 1, colored purple here, stretches from metro Tucson to the Utah border.

Democratic candidate for U.S. House Ann Kirkpatrick released her first television ad of the general-election campaign today.

It's a soft-focus biographical spot in which Kirkpatrick, of Flagstaff, introduces herself to voters.

Before a backdrop of leafy trees, Kirkpatrick begins, "I've lived my entire life in our community, and raised my family here."

She goes on, "In Congress I cut my own pay and returned unspent office funds, so I know we can pay down the debt while protecting Social Security and Medicare, and strengthening our middle class."

Almost as fast as the spot appeared, the National Republican Congressional Committee released what it called a "fact check" of the ad. Among its critiques, when Kirkpatrick says "I know we can pay down the debt," the fact is, "Kirkpatrick voted for the $1 trillion stimulus and in just her first two months as a member of Congress she voted to raise spending by $1.2 trillion."

The ad promises to be the first of many in the highly contested Congressional District 1 race. Both Republicans and Democrats think they can win the vast district, which stretches from Marana to the New Mexico border, across the Apache and Navajo reservations, across Flagstaff and Sedona to near Kingman.

As of mid-August, Kirkpatrick's campaign had $826,000 on hand to Republican Jonathan Paton's $128,000. But both campaigns will be helped by their parties' congressional campaign comittees, and outside groups are also likely to weigh in with their own ads.