Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday announced his support for Andy Tobin in the race for Congress in eastern Arizona’s District 1.
Tobin, who serves in the state Legislature as House speaker, is running in a three-way primary with state Rep. Adam Kwasman, R-Oro Valley, and rancher and oilman Gary Kiehne. The winner will challenge U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., in the toss-up district in November.
“Andy is a proven conservative whose leadership in Arizona has been crucial to cutting state government spending, lowering taxes and fighting to stop ObamaCare,” Romney said in a written statement released by Tobin’s campaign. “He has the courage and resolve we need in Washington. Andy is a leader who will do the right thing for the people of Arizona.”
Tobin said he did “everything in my power” to help Romney win Arizona and the presidency in 2012, though he did not specify his efforts. Romney won Arizona and District 1 handily, but lost the election to President Barack Obama.
Tobin said the country “missed a great opportunity to elect a great leader…to help get America back on its feet.” With Romney’s support, Tobin said Republicans can reclaim District 1 and “send a conservative with a proven track record to Washington.”
Kiehne spokesman Chris Baker said the endorsement shows Tobin is “a political insider with no support from any prominent conservative in the state,” panning the candidate’s support from Romney and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. “They know who Andy Tobin is and they know how he will vote in Congress. … (He’s) left with rolling out establishment Republicans from out of state.”
Tobin has received 32 endorsements from elected officials and associations, including conservatives Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and former state Sen. Frank Antenori.