Ann Kirkpatrick

Ann Kirkpatrick

Courtesy Ann Kirkpatrick

Ann Kirkpatrick is scheduled to announce Friday, July 21, that she is officially re-entering the political arena as a Democratic candidate in Congressional District 2.

The three-term congresswoman told the Arizona Daily Star she is jumping into a crowded field of Democrats hoping to win the primary and run against the two-term Republican incumbent, Martha McSally, next year.

The district is expected to draw the national spotlight in the 2018 midterms since the election will likely be a close race that both parties think they can win.

Kirkpatrick moved to Tucson from Flagstaff in April to explore a run against McSally.

However, it wasn’t until Wednesday that Kirkpatrick became a registered voter in CD 2. A campaign official confirmed Kirkpatrick had changed it online and had been previously registered to vote in Flagstaff.

The registration change was confirmed by county officials.

Over the last few months, Kirkpatrick says she crisscrossed the district, which includes all of Cochise County and a portion of Tucson and Pima County, and has heard from residents concerned about federal health-care reform, climate change and America’s standing in the world.

Other residents, she said, told her they were concerned about the lack of checks and balances at the federal level.

“We really need a leader who can be a check on Donald Trump,” Kirkpatrick said.

Health-care reform was at the top of the list of dozens of residents.

Even in her own family, Kirkpatrick concedes the rising costs are a challenge.

One of her grandsons was born prematurely, requiring an extended stay in the hospital that without insurance would have cost roughly $80,000.

Kirkpatrick says she opposes repealing the Affordable Care Act, but acknowledges it is far from perfect and that Congress needs to step in to address various problems.

She isn’t a stranger to Tucson — she earned her law degree from the University of Arizona and worked in the Pima County Attorney’s Office from 1981 to 1985.

Kirkpatrick left Congress earlier this year after deciding against running for another term in Congressional District 1, which covers several counties from Oro Valley to Flagstaff. She instead unsuccessfully challenged Republican Sen. John McCain for his Senate seat last year.

Other CD2 Democratic candidates include former state Rep. Bruce Wheeler, emergency room Dr. Matt Heinz, retired assistant secretary of the Army Mary Matiella, small-business owner Charlie Verdin‏, businessman Billy Kovacs, consultant William Foster and pilot Jeff Latas.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson