04 August 2010

Congressional Races in Arizona

Currently, the State of Arizona has a makeup of two Republican senators and 3 Republican/5 Democratic House members. This post will analyze each of the nine federal races in Arizona through both the primaries and general election:

Arizona CD-1
Incumbent: Ann Kirkpatrick (D)
Challengers: Bradley Beauchamp (R), Rusty Bowers (R), Paul Gosar (R), Sydney Hay (R), Joe Jaraczewski (R), Jon Jensen (R), Steve Mehta (R), Thomas Zaleski (R)
Analysis: Obviously as you can see above, this race is being tightly contested by the Republicans, and there is a likelihood that they could win in November to incumbent Kirkpatrick who will be the Democratic nominee, considering she's running unopposed. Arizona's first district has typically trended Republican over the past several elections. The wave of anti-Republican sentiment in 2008 hit the first district hard - exascerbated by an investigation (and ultimately, indictment) of then-Congressman Rick Renzi. Kirkpatrick won by 50,000 votes or so in 2008, but there is no reason to think that voters wouldn't vote Republican again in the district. Of the GOP primary challengers, Sydney Hay has name recognition from her campaign in '08, in which she lost to Kirkpatrick, and former AZ Senate Majority Leader Bowers, attorney and teacher Beauchamp, and dentist Gosar have been campaigning hard for the seat. In my opinion, Rusty Bowers may have the best shot at defeating Kirkpatrick in the general, but it's likely to be Hay or Beauchamp to win the primary.

Read More: CD-2

Arizona CD-2
Incumbent: Trent Franks (R)
Challengers: Charles Black (R), John Thrasher (D), Powell Gammill (L)
Analysis: A very safe seat for the incumbent, Franks is not likely to be unseated in the primary by his challenger, businessman Charles Black, and is equally unlikely to lose to the man against whom he won in 2006 and 2008, John Thrasher. Count this one a lock for another Franks victory.

Arizona CD-3
Incumbent: John Shadegg (R - Retiring)
Challengers: Bob Branch (R), Sam Crump (R), Pamela Gorman (R), LeAnn Hull (R), Steve Moak (R), Paulina Morris (R), Vernon Parker (R), Ben Quayle (R), Jim Waring (R), Ed Winkler (R), John Hulbard (D), Leonard Clark (G), Michael Shoen (L)
Analysis: Perhaps the most interesting race in Arizona because of the high-profile names involved, even though CD-3 itself will most likely stay a Republican stronghold for years to come. The only Democrat, Hulbard, will face one of several equally well-known candidates in the general election: Ben Quayle, the son of ex-US Vice President Dan Quayle; former candidate for AZ Governor and Mayor of Paradise Valley Vernon Parker; State Senator and former Representative Pamela Gorman; and State Representative Sam Crump, among others. By far, the best-funded and most well-known of this high-profile group is Quayle, who is both well-received in the district and has plenty of cash on hand. I expect him to win in the primary and in the general. Look for him to be on the rosters of Congress in 2011.

Arizona CD-4
Incumbent: Ed Pastor (D)
Challengers: Janet Contreras (R), Joe Penalosa (R), Rebecca DeWitt (G), Joe Cobb (L)
Analysis: A strong safe seat for the Democrats in Arizona, Ed Pastor has a couple Republican challengers vying in the primary and trying to capitalize on mild anti-Democrat sentiments in 2010. Neither one really stands a chance against the 5-term incumbent.

Arizona CD-5
Incumbent: Harry Mitchell (D)
Challengers: Susan Bitter-Smith (R), Lee Gentry (R), David Schweikert (R), Jim Ward (R), Chris Salvino (R), Mark Spinks (R), Nick Coons (L)
Analysis: Another interesting Arizona race all around. After now-Senatorial candidate J.D. Hayworth lost the seat in 2006 to Mitchell, Republicans have been trying to win it back. Bitter-Smith, Gentry, and Schweikert were all 2008 candidates back for another round, but the real person to watch is businessman Jim Ward, whose capital in the race combined with his successful business endeavors with places like LucasFilm are combining to make him the likely primary winner this time around. Because CD-5 is a well-known swing district, he stands a chance of defeating the very well-liked Mitchell in the typical GOP stronghold of Tempe, Arizona.

Arizona CD-6
Incumbent: Jeff Flake (R)
Challengers: Jeff Smith (R), Rebecca Schneider (D), Richard Grayson (G)
Analysis: Flake, a 5-term congressman - four of which were for CD-6 - is the type of candidate who usually doesn't have to campaign because no one challenges him. This year, however, businessman Jeff Smith is giving Flake his first GOP opponent. While Flake is still very likely to win the primary and general elections easily as he has for eight years, Smith may do better than expected. He's been hammering Flake on his poor cap-and-trade bill, his denouncing of popular SB1070, his lack of attention to issues beyond earmarks, and his 2000 campaign promise to not remain in Congress more than three terms. Flake will win, but in future elections he might start picking up more challengers.

Arizona CD-7
Incumbent: Raul Grijalva (D)
Challengers: Christopher Flowers (R), Ruth McClung (R), Terry Myers (R), Joseph Sweeney (R), Robert Wilson (R), Andrew Ibarra (L), George Keane (L), Harley Meyer (I)
Analysis: Grijalva is typically another Democrat with a very safe seat, but with all the flap this year about SB1070, this one has a very small chance of being a surprise. Grijalva initiated calls for other states to boycott Arizona over the immigration law, and voters aren't soon likely to forget that sort of treason against the state. Of the Republican primary candidates, three are businessmen, one is a rocket scientist (literally), and one is a contractor. Even with the distaste for Grijalva fresh in GOP voters' minds, there may not be a big enough name this cycle to remove him from office. I suspect he'll be there in 2011.

Arizona CD-8
Incumbent: Gabrielle Giffords (D)
Challengers: Andy Goss (R), Jesse Kelly (R), Brian Miller (R), Jonathan Paton (R), Jay Quick (R), Steve Stoltz (L)
Analysis: Giffords won in, again, the anti-Republican wave of 2006 after the retirement of long-term Republican Jim Kolbe. However, the district itself typically trends Democrat, so there is a good chance Giffords will retain her seat. That being said, of the five GOP challengers in the primary, four - Goss, Kelly, Miller, and Paton - are Iraq or Afghanistan war veterans and of them, Kelly and Paton are very popular, Paton being a former state Representative and former state Senator. With the border debate shifting foci onto national security, Paton's background might give him an edge in the primary and in the general. At the moment, I would say this district leans toward re-electing Giffords, but might be too close to call right now.


  1. Nice work Andrew...I wish we had some polls in the state to look at some of these primary races.

  2. I'm hoping really bad that Jeff Smith will beat Jeff Flake.

    And if Ben Qualye wins, I'm going to pull my hair out. How can people be so dumb as to vote that guy into office? They should vote for Pamela Gorman, I think. Qualye sent out a mailer with a picture of him and his wife and other people's kids! What kind of man borrows good-looking children and deceptively poses with them, as if they were his own offspring?!

    Gosh, so much of politics is lies lies lies lies lies! It makes me want to stop following politics, and stop campaigning for Jeff Smith! There is so much injustice in the world!