The biggest question so far in this year's race for the congressional seat that represents Flagstaff and nearly all of the eastern third of Arizona has been: Who's running?

Two Democrats to date are in, but the Republican candidate is less certain.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, a Doney Park Republican and dentist, announced Saturday he would campaign in different district after recent redistricting gave Democrats a 9-point registration edge over Republicans.

Federal law does not require a House member to live in the district he or she represents.

The new district does not include Prescott and Prescott Valley, Republican strongholds that have anchored the district for the GOP for the last decade.

Republicans expect a candidate or two will step forward, but they're not sure who.

"No one has spoken with the party about it. There haven't been any exploratory committees formed," said Shane Wikfors, spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party, in comments before Gosar's announcement.

Attorney and former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Flagstaff Democrat unseated by Gosar in 2010, announced a campaign to regain her seat in March 2011, not long after Gosar was sworn into office.

Attorney and Flagstaff Democrat Wenona Benally Baldenegro has previously worked on behalf of tribes and is a newcomer to the race.

Benally Baldenegro's positions are politically left of Kirkpatrick's. She opposes Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy, proposes to decrease the use of climate-changing pollutants, and believes gay marriage and abortion should be legal.

She was in Washington in October to lobby House Speaker John Boehner to pass a jobs bill, and she aligned herself with the Occupy protests occurring then.

Fundraising by the candidates soared in the last decade when CD1 became competitive politically. Independent political action committees spent millions more.

The most recent fundraising reports show Benally Baldenegro greatly trailing Kirkpatrick, with about $26,000 raised from tribes or people lobbying on behalf of tribes.

Kirkpatrick, like Gosar, had raised nearly a half-million dollars through the end of September, in the most recent reports available with the Federal Election Commission.

Kirkpatrick's top funders included a group that supports keeping abortion legal, various unions, and attorneys, with much of her funding from political action committees tied to unions.

Kirkpatrick disclosed her income, assets and liabilities as a representative in 2010. According to an analysis from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, she had a net worth between $705,022 and $1.7 million that year.

Cyndy Cole can be reached at 913-8607 or at

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