Arizona congressman David Schweikert, a member of the radical GOP House Freedom Caucus, back in August 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.
The winner of the Democratic primary is Anita Malik.
The rivals will face off at 5 p.m. Friday on Arizona PBS (Channel 8) in a televised debate moderated by Ted Simons of “Arizona Horizon” and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez of The Arizona Republic. Arizona elections: 6th Congressional District could be competitive:
Arizona’s 6th Congressional District has been a safe Republican district for years, but this year, fired-up Democrats are hoping to make a play for the seat held by four-term incumbent U.S. Rep. David Schweikert.
Schweikert, R-Ariz., is facing Democratic challenger Anita Malik, who works in technology and communications, in the Nov. 6 general election.
David Wasserman, a House editor of the nonpartisan “Cook Political Report” in Washington, D.C., said that this year is unusual for Democrats, who have been united and energized in opposition to President Donald Trump.
“As recently as April, a Democrat came within 5 points of winning a seat that’s much more Republican than the 6th District,” he said, referring to Arizona’s April special election in which Democrat Hiral Tiperneni lost to Republican Debbie Lesko in the 8th Congressional District, where voter registration is even more lopsided in favor of the GOP.
Schweikert, 56, is seeking a fifth House term despite being under an ethics investigation in connection with allegations of possible misspending by him or his chief of staff, Oliver Schwab.
Schwab’s spending came into question last year in a report in the Washington Examiner. In April, he repaid Schweikert’s campaign more than $50,000 for what was described as “erroneous reimbursement.”
Schweikert is a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and has helped shape the Trump tax cuts and Republican efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.
Malik, 42, whose campaign message emphasizes job creation and addresses inequality, won the district’s Aug. 28 Democratic primary by roughly 2,000 votes.
Malik supports a single-payer health-care system and low-cost coverage for all, citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients known as “dreamers,” protecting women’s access to abortion and ending super PACs.
The 6th Congressional District covers the northeast Valley, from Cave Creek and Carefree south to the Salt River Reservation near Tempe, including Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.
This will be a David versus Goliath contest, though “David” here is Anita Malik.
Schweikert has a huge money advantage over Malik. As of Aug. 8, Schweikert had raised more than $1.4 million in total contributions, whereas Malik had raised just less than $130,000, according to the Federal Election Commission.
“A lot of Democratic donors have been reluctant to give to this race because they didn’t know who the nominee would be,” Wasserman said.
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Part of the challenge for Malik will be cutting through the noise of the competitive gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, where millions of dollars will be spent on ads, to make her case against Schweikert, Gonzales said.
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“It’s not about party politics, it’s about people,” she said. “Pairing the old traditions of what I believe works with campaigning with the new tradition, which is digital, is the way that we need to look at this.”
She admitted it will be tough trying to win in a traditionally conservative district, but believes she can pull it off by appealing to independent voters and speaking to every person across party lines.
Malik said while money is needed for voter engagement and marketing, it’s possible to stretch the dollar and lower costs by not outsourcing and bringing in seasoned experts to help with the campaign.
“Money isn’t the only factor. It really is that grassroots people power, the ability to have a conversation,” she said.
Contribute your time, money and efforts — and give your vote — to Anita Malik to kick the unethical and extremist David Schweikert out of office. Arizona deserves better.
It will be interesting to see if The Republic follows up its editorial with an endorsement of Anita Malik in coming weeks.