With the backing of well-known University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olsen, and a passion for Tucson, Dave Sitton has come on strong in the Congressional District 8 Primary Election.
Sitton said while he is facing three strong opponents in the April 17 primary, none of them can say they’ve devoted 38 years to Tucson. In that time, Sitton said he has served as a businessman for a majority of those, and is known as a local sports broadcaster.
Sitton said he’s been thinking about a run for Congress for a long time. He gave it serious consideration when Congressman Jim Kolbe retired from District 8 after 22 years. Giffords went on to win the seat, serving through 2011.
“It just wasn’t the right time,” Sitton said when asked what prevented him from running. “I still had kids in school, and I didn’t want to miss that.”
While Sitton agrees that opponents Jesse Kelly and Arizona Sen. Frank Antenori bring a certain level of name recognition to the race, he stands by the advantage of being in Tucson for 38 uninterrupted years where he has worked and served the community.
“No one else in this race can make that claim,” he said.
Sitton has proven he is a strong opponent in the race with the recent financial reports filed by Republican candidates. Records show Sitton led the Republican candidates by raising $260,550, while Kelly raised $210,348. McSally, a retired Air Force pilot, reported $132,807.
All the Republican candidates are trailing Democrat Ron Barber, who reported raising more than $500,000 to date.
When it comes to the issues, past debates have shown the four Republican candidates have similar messages.
The economy is a priority for all the candidates.
“The American economy has grown to be the most dynamic in the history of mankind,” Sitton said. “We need to get back to an economy where the maximum amount of Americans are paying the least amount of taxes. American is much better served when members of the community serve, and not politicians. I am an American first.”
If elected, Sitton said he wouldn’t be against setting term limitations, which would prevent candidates from become lifelong politicians. However, he said it’s too early to talk of details.
“I am 57 years old, and I am not going to be a career politician,” Sitton said.
In looking at the General Election in June, Sitton said he understands that the service of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will come up. Barber, a former Giffords’ aide, is running unopposed in the primary.
When it comes to Giffords’ two full terms in office, Sitton said he will carry on her service to the constituents.
“I will emulate her best practices, but I won’t emulate her votes,” he said.
Sitton said Giffords was strong in being available to constituents and Veterans, but when it came to her voting record in Washington, she didn’t make the best choices. Sitton listed her vote to approve “Obamacare” as one area of concern.
Sitton said Barber will carry on many of Giffords’ votes, and that is not what Arizona or the country needs moving forward.