Ann Kirkpatrick

Ann Kirkpatrick.

Jennifer Johnson

Former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is taking a step closer to a possible run in Congressional District 2 next year.

Kirkpatrick, who recently moved to Tucson, told the Arizona Daily Star on Wednesday she will form an exploratory committee ahead of a run for the Democratic nomination next year.

In November, the Democratic winner will face Republican U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, who is in her second term as the CD2 representative. The district is expected to draw the national spotlight in the 2018 midterms since the election will likely be a close race that both national parties think they can win.

Kirkpatrick, who served three terms in Congress, said she wanted to tour the entire district, which includes all of Cochise County and a portion of Tucson and Pima County, to get a better understanding of what residents want from their representative.

She left Congress after deciding to challenge Republican John McCain for his Senate seat in 2016 rather than running for re-election in Congressional District 1, which covers several counties from Oro Valley to Flagstaff. Democrat Tom O’Halleran won the district seat in November.

Kirkpatrick isn’t a stranger to Tucson — she got her law degree at the University of Arizona and worked in the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

If Kirkpatrick opts to get in the race, she faces a crowded primary field. There are eight Democrats who have either announced they are running or are testing the waters for a primary run.

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

Reporter

Reporter with the Arizona Daily Star. I cover politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona.