Three Tucson voters are asking a Maricopa County judge to weigh in on whether former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick actually lives in the Old Pueblo.
A legal challenge filed Monday morning doubles down on complaints from local Democrats that Kirkpatrick is a political opportunist who moved to Tucson last year to challenge a politically vulnerable Rep. Martha McSally.
The 13-page filing seeks to kick Kirkpatrick off of the ballot for Congressional District 2, arguing that she lied on her nominating petitions by listing two Tucson addresses when in fact she doesn’t live in Southern Arizona.
The claim offers a detailed narrative backed with a paper trail that shows Kirkpatrick and her husband, Roger Curley, actually live in Phoenix near the law offices where Curley works.
Craig Morgan, an attorney representing the Tucson voters, told the Arizona Daily Star that he has overwhelming evidence that Kirkpatrick went to great lengths to trick voters in Congressional District 2.
“It is a case about being honest with the electorate,” Morgan said.
No federal law requires Kirkpatrick to live in the district, but that isn’t the crux of the legal argument designed to nullify the signatures for the ballot.
“Our statutes do require you on certain forms, which are your nomination paperwork and petitions, to list your actual address, and there is a reason for that — people need to know where you live,” Morgan said.
A spokesperson for Kirkpatrick, Rodd McLeod, said one of Kirkpatrick’s political rivals — emergency room Dr. Matt Heinz — is funding the baseless legal claim.
“Nobody is surprised by another false attack by Matt Heinz, who hasn’t won a campaign in years due to his negative GOP-style politics,” McLeod said. “Ann Kirkpatrick lives in Tucson in District 2, not in District 3 where Matt lives.”
McLeod noted that some fundraising materials list a house Heinz owns in downtown Tucson, which is in Congressional District 3.
Brian Robinson, the campaign manager for the Heinz campaign, said the Kirkpatrick team doesn’t seem to understand the problem.
“The fact that Ann lives in Phoenix and comes to Southern Arizona for special occasions isn’t the issue,” he said.
“The problem is that she lied about it and swore in official documents that her lies are the truth.”
The legal challenge focuses on whether the nominating petitions, signed by thousands of Arizona voters, should be thrown out because Kirkpatrick listed two addresses, a house on East Woodspring Drive and later an apartment on North Shannon Road.
Morgan noted that last year, Kirkpatrick received a tax credit reserved for owner-occupied dwellings for her home in Flagstaff. Curley also reportedly received the same tax credit for their Phoenix home, listing it as his primary residence.
Morgan represents Tucson residents Thomas A. Elias, Regina G. Mireles-Elias and Tuan Vo.
It also points to a deed for the Phoenix property, filed with the Maricopa County recorder last November, that requires that the home be the principal residence for at least one year.
Eyewitness reports listed in the claim reveal that Kirkpatrick has been observed using a suitcase when she leaves her Phoenix home, suggesting that is where she keeps clothes and other personal items — not the homes she listed in Tucson.
Morgan challenges repeated public statements made by Kirkpatrick that she moved to Tucson to be closer to her grandchildren, noting that one of her children lives in Phoenix and the other lives in Flagstaff.
The latter seems to be a relatively recent development, as her daughter, a neurosurgeon, had been living in Tucson.
He also claims Kirkpatrick has misled voters about where she lives on social media, offering examples of Facebook posts where Kirkpatrick said she was in Tucson but was independently observed in Phoenix.
The filing requests that that the judge nullify nominating petitions, bar her from being on the primary ballot in August and prevent her from running as a write-in candidate in the fall.
The political landscape in Congressional District 2 has shifted dramatically since Kirkpatrick announced her candidacy last year.
McSally announced in January she would attempt to replace Jeff Flake in the Senate, creating an open seat that at last count had seven Democrats and four Republicans seeking to fill her shoes.