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Grijalva draws Democratic challengers

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Grijalva draws Democratic challengers

CREATED Jun 29, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They're not exactly pounding at the gates with pitchforks and torches in hand--but some Arizona Democrats want to boot a long-time Congressman to the curb.

After easy wins in earlier elections a Republican newcomer gave Raul Grijalva had a close call in the last run. But up to now, he's rarely had a Democrat challenge him for the nomination---now he has two.

Raul Grijalva has become a liberal leader in Congress but now to run for the Democrats again he has to defeat registered democrats to secure the nomination.
Amanda Aguirre is from Yuma.  She's a business owner and former state senator.  She says going against Grijalva has put her at odds with the Democratic establishment.

She says, "We can start with the Democratic Party whish is not supporting me to begin with.  Probably as you have seen in the news or you yourself have reported it the Democratic party has taken sides including Pima County."
Challengers like Ob/GYN Doctor Manny Arreguin say Grijalva's reputation as a liberal lightning rod locks Grijalva out of chances to achieve things for the district.

"We need a change and we need a change because we need to find someone who's willing to work with members on the other side." 
We had to catch Congressman Grijalva by phone from Washington. He says conservative forces would love to knock him out.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "do you think you're being targeted in part because of stands you took such as the boycott?"

Grijalva: "Well I'm being targeted because of some of the stand's I've taken nationally.  My target's a pretty big target. The stands we've taken in terms of the budget, how to do deficit reduction, against Bush's permanent tax cuts, pro environment, comprehensive immigration reform."

The Democratic Party fought efforts by the two challengers to get voter databases that make it much easier to target your campaigning.
Until a few years ago Doctor Arroquin was a registered Republican.  He says he registered when he was very young, but split with that party over the Republican support for SB1070.