AZ01: A Great Candidate — Jevin Hodge — and a Race We Can Win

Folks, the days before the election are counting down. For those who want to accomplish all they can with whatever time, energy and dollars they have left to give, please take a good look at AZ01. I think we have a fantastic opportunity to replace an ethically challenged, right-winger with a principled, hard working champion of government for the people, not the privileged.

Some background:  In 2008, I ran for Congress in what was then AZ03. It was a red district, but 2008 was a wave year for Democrats and we had just turned the adjacent district blue in 2006. As most of you know, it didn’t work out as planned. After 2008, I stayed engaged, but much more in the policy sphere than the political. I haven’t paid super close attention to things like redistricting.

So, I was a little surprised when Greg Stanton called for a contribution (yes, I helped) and mentioned that I no longer was in his district. I knew that the 2012 redistricting caused my house to move from the southeast corner of AZ03 (where I ran in 2008) to the western part of AZ09 (represented first by Sinema, then by Stanton). Now I was back on the eastern edge of AZ01.

Which made me think: this new district of mine must look a good bit like the one I ran in 14 years ago. Indeed, the net effects of two redistrictings on the boundaries to this district have been modest. The overlap between old AZ03 and new AZ01 is huge.

All of which is to say I know this district. I know the demographics have changed dramatically since 2008. As many of you know, the Maricopa County suburbs were the center of the red-to-blue transformation that allowed Biden to carry the state. And this district is the epicenter of that transformation. When the suburban vote shifted, the shift was not uniform. The farther flung suburbs are still quite red. But suburbs in the city of Phoenix — this district — shifted dramatically, far more than Maricopa County as a whole. In 2008, I failed to carry the area near my home. When I walked that same area in 2020 for the Biden campaign, there were five Biden signs for every Trump sign. To the north of my house, the change is starker. Neighborhoods that we lost big in 2008 now are bright blue.

So, does Jevin Hodge face the same headwinds I did 14 years ago? No, not even close. Biden carried the district by 1.5 points in 2020 and it has continued to trend bluer since then. Whatever the numbers were in the 2020 election, they’re better for a Dem candidate this year, just as they were better in 2020 than 2018. The Cook Political Report has the race into the toss-up column. Schweikert barely held a redder district in 2020.

And Jevin is the ideal candidate to win this district. He’s smart and likable. Upon meeting him, you know right away he’s a principled, caring human being. He’s the ideal contrast to Schweikert.

But saying this is winnable is also to say it has not yet been won. Although Schweikert’s own fundraising has been anemic, reflecting his unpopularity, the Club for Growth and others are pouring money into the race. The polling numbers I’ve seen are not just “margin of error” close; they’re dead heat close.

This one is going to come down to field work between now and election day. If everyone on our side does the painstaking work of knocking on doors, making phone calls and doing all the other excruciating tasks needed to get out the vote, we’ll be celebrating a huge victory on November 8th. And it just might be the difference between a Democratic or a Republican controlled House.

I know knocking on doors or phone banking may not be your favorite way to spend an afternoon. But this election year is worth every sacrifice. I’ve spent the last two weekends dropping literature and will continue to do so until the election. If you have the time to spare, and you live within a reasonable drive of AZ01, please, please help out. You’ll also be helping Mark Kelly and the all the other statewide candidates, many of whom are in nail-biter races.

Here’s how I look at it: I truly dislike GOTV work. But I know what I’d dislike a whole lot more: losing a winnable House or Senate race, and possibly our democracy along with it, after not having made the effort to help. What an awful feeling that would be. So, let’s all not go there. If you can help out in AZ01, fantastic. If not, help out anywhere you can. There are two other close House races in AZ, along with a bunch of close, and critical, statewide races. We can do this!

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