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renzimug2.jpgEven before U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi?s recent difficulties, the political pundits were speculating about who would be in the field of candidates for the Republican congressman?s seat in the 2008 election cycle.
By Mike Cosentino
Larson Newspapers
________________


Even before U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi?s recent difficulties, the political pundits were speculating about who would be in the field of candidates for the Republican congressman?s seat in the 2008 election cycle.

On the Democratic side, the names coming up are Jim Ledbetter, of Cottonwood, Steve Owens, of Morenci, and Howard Shanker, of Flagstaff, according to Shane O?Shea, chairman of the Democrats of the Verde Valley.

Coconino County Republican Party Chairman John Echols declined to comment on the 2008 race for Renzi?s District 1 seat or the investigation of alleged wrongdoing by Renzi.

All the potential Democratic candidates are attorneys.

Ledbetter runs the Ledbetter Law firm in Cottonwood.

Owens is currently the director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Shanker is a Flagstaff environmental attorney who represents the Sierra Club and the Red Rock Rural Community Association in challenges to the Bella Terra subdivision outside Sedona over its land use and wastewater issues.

Ledbetter said he was encouraged to run in a recent telephone call from U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.].

Ledbetter said has talked to Brandon Hall, director of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign Committee.

Ledbetter also confirmed that someone from Renzi?s staff called to find out his intentions.

Ledbetter said he plans to decide whether to run by the middle of May.

Shanker said he plans to attend the Democratic State Committee meeting in Phoenix on Sunday, April 29, to test the waters.

Owens could not be reached for comment as of press time.


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