News & Election Videos

September 03, 2008

Mitchell will face Schweikert

Former Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert narrowly won the GOP primary against over lobbyist Susan Bitter-Smith, and will be facing Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) in the November election.

With all precincts reporting, Schweikert defeated Bitter-Smith 30 percent to 28 percent, with four other candidates splitting the remainder of the vote.

In an interview at the Democratic National Convention last week, Mitchell said he recognizes that he faces a serious re-election challenge. His Scottsdale-area district was once represented by conservative firebrand J.D. Hayworth, and Republicans still hold an sizable advantage in partisan voter registration.

“It’s going to be tough. The registration is not in my favor. It’s a Republican district, and I’m the first Democrat to get elected,” said Mitchell. “But the district will look at the individual. And I think the fact that I’m back every weekend in the district, listening to people, going to events.”

In retiring GOP Rep. Rick Renzi’s expansive eastern Arizona district, former Democratic state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick handily won the Democratic primary and will be facing conservative activist Sydney Hay in the general election. Hay narrowly defeated former State Department Official Sandra Livingstone, who won the Arizona Republic’s endorsement.

Republicans are not bullish about Hay’s prospects, given her financial disadvantage heading into November, and her narrow margin of victory in the GOP primary. She was not the GOP’s first choice — the party initially tried to recruit other elected officials in the district, without any luck.

But the district, which extends from the sparsely populated Navajo nation down to the fast-growing Phoenix suburbs of Pinal County, has favored Republicans at the national level, giving President Bush 54 percent of the vote in 2004.