Arizona congressman David Schweikert, a member of the radical GOP House Freedom Caucus, recently drew an editorial opinion from The Arizona Republic practically begging voters to vote for his Democratic opponent — whoever wins the August primary. 5 reasons a Democrat could win David Schweikert’s seat, even in a Republican stronghold:
Everything about this contest seems superfluous. Why do you even go to the trouble of staging a Democratic primary in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District?
These are the posh enclaves of Paradise Valley, northeast Phoenix, Scottsdale and Cave Creek, where Republicans are born and bred to beat Democrats. They enjoy a substantial voter registration advantage of 45,000.
Consequently, the Republican incumbent has smashed his Democratic rival in the last three general elections by landslide margins of 24, 30 and 28 points.
Schweikert also enjoys the power of incumbency, and is currently far ahead in the money race.
So why bother?
Here are five reasons Democrats and other Arizonans should care about the CD 6 Democratic primary:
1. This is a wild year
Start with the political gravity of midterm elections. Historically, the party out of power picks up an average 30 seats in the House and four seats in the Senate. Add to that the powerful animus Democrats and many independents feel for the Bronx Brawler in the White House, and you understand why political theorists detect a blue wave on our horizon.
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And in Arizona, a special election in the formerly safe 8th Congressional District saw a Republican barely hold the seat for the GOP when facing a dynamic Democratic challenger.
There is one thing certain in this Congress 6 primary, the Democrats will put forward a dynamic candidate.
2. The Democratic field is strong
Some of us on The Arizona Republic editorial board have been interviewing candidates for endorsement for 20 years or more. And the Democrats running in this race make up one of the strongest panels we’ve seen. All three are accomplished people with energy and magnetism.
If the Democratic Party has suffered from a weak bench in recent decades, those days may be over. We believe we are looking at the future of the party in these three candidates, and that they could be important leaders one day in Arizona.
Anita Malik: The daughter of east Indian immigrants, she knows the district well. She grew up attending Scottsdale public schools. A graduate in computer information systems and finance at Arizona State University with a masters in journalism from the University of Southern California, Malik was the chief operating officer of a content technology company, a job she left to run for Congress.
Her primary focus would be the development of emerging industries in the economy. “Every issue is a jobs issue,” Malik said, and that means she will be looking at all legislation under the lens of job creation. She would promote economic innovation and simplify the tax code.
Her health-care agenda is progressive, calling for universal coverage through Medicare for All. She would allow insurance providers to sell across state lines and would consolidate aspects of Medicare, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
On the immigration front, she would put DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients on a path to citizenship.
Garrick McFadden: A product of Apple Valley, Minn., a suburb of the Twin Cities, he is today an Arizona tax attorney and small business owner. He has a master’s in business taxation from the University of Southern California Leventhal School of Accounting and studied law at USC.
McFadden speaks with passion about working people and sees a special role for himself in this election. “I’m the only person in this race who has a demonstrable history of fighting for the people of this state,” he said. “My priority is meeting voters at their doors. Not just the voters who always vote, but also the people politicians ignore.”
He is unabashedly “bold” and “progressive” and would pursue a single-payer health-care system, abolish ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and hold corporations accountable for environmental degradation.
He would work to set the minimum wage at $15 and to pass an equal-pay-for-equal-work bill. He would ban for-profit prisons, legalize recreational marijuana and “fight for unions.”
Heather Ross: Born in Phoenix and raised in Scottsdale, she is a nurse practitioner, Arizona State University professor and research scientist. Her background has ensured that much of her energy is focused on improving America’s health-care system. “I didn’t decide to run for Congress because I thought we needed more of the same,” she said. “Congress needs to change at every level – including leadership.”
Ross would work to expand Medicare, letting those over 55 buy in. She would work to reform Medicaid and drive down costs and expand access to mental health care.
She is more moderate than McFadden on immigration. She would not abolish ICE and underscores the importance of enforcing our immigration and customs laws. On Second Amendment issues, she would advance universal background checks and work to make gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed with their weapons. She would fortify schools and try to close gun-show, online and private-sale loopholes.
On the education front, she would make institutions of higher learning more affordable and prioritize training for advanced jobs.
3. The incumbent is reeling
U.S. Rep. David Schweikert has been shrouded in suspicion ever since the House Ethics Committee began probing his office for potential violations of the laws that guide campaign financing and congressional office funds. His chief of staff, Oliver Schwab, quit under accusations that he broke the law.
Schweikert responds that there is nothing much to see here. But there is a lot of smoke. And where there is smoke there is Schweikert.
4. Women are energized
Women are running for office in record numbers, emboldened by a nascent #MeToo movement and (in this state) by Arizona’s #RedforEd movement that demands more funding for our public schools.
In a year when the Democrats are almost certain to win the intensity battle – the crawl over glass and nails to vote for Democrat – they may find allies among moderate Republican and independent women who are fed up with the crude, smash-mouth politics of today’s Washington.
5. Democrats have a winner
The Arizona Republic is recommending voters elect Anita Malik in a strong field because she is smart, well-spoken and brings a business focus that is attractive to voters in District 6. We like her opponents a lot, and that makes this decision tough, but she stands out among the competition because of her strong professional experience and poise.
Defeating David Schweikert in the general election will not be easy. History tells us that. But if it’s going to happen, this is the year and Malik is the candidate whose message and issues are best modulated to the district’s needs.
We would further recommend the Arizona Democratic Party, no matter the outcome, do everything in its power to keep these three people involved in state or federal politics.
Wow, The Republic editors really want the unethical David Schweikert gone. Voters should oblige.
Whichever Democrat emerges from the party primary, he or she is going to need a massive infusion of money, and quickly. Give generously of your volunteer time and money, and then vote for the Democrat in November. I’s time to drain the swamp of the GOP culture of corruption in Arizona.