Arizona House Congressional District (CD) One will be one of the most watched political contests on election night in 2024.
Because the toss-up district contains a populace that only just supported Joe Biden in 2020 and the Republican incumbent running, ethically challenged David Schweikert has faced increasingly dwindling margins of victory over Democratic challengers over the last three electoral cycles.
In the Non-Presidential 2022 Midterm elections, he barely prevailed over Democratic CD One nominee Jevin Hodge by just over 3,000 votes out of 361,477 cast.
That is probably why Six Democratic contenders are vying to dispatch Schweikert from the House of Representatives in the Presidential Election year of 2024.
One of those Democrats is businessman, Wall Street financier, businessman, and law school graduate, Conor O’Callaghan.
A resident of the district who attended Scottsdale Public Schools, Mr. O’Callaghan pledges to be “a fighter in Washington that (the people in CD One) can trust to get the job done.”
In the campaign video announcing his candidacy (please view below), “Mr. O’Callaghan, himself an immigrant whose family came to the United States to live the American Dream…”, relayed his biography and introduced his family including his wife Tina and three sons. In the video, he said his campaign is partially based on securing a better future for his children and others.
If elected to the House, Mr. O’Callaghan, unlike the current incumbent would work on:
● Solving the water crisis.
● Defending Democracy.
● Protecting reproductive freedom.
● Supporting small businesses.
● Paying teachers what they are worth.
● Immigration Reform.
● End stock trading in Congress.
● Gun safety reform.
● Honoring and protecting veterans.
● Making health care more affordable.
● Defending Social Security and Medicare.
On Mr. Schweikert, Mr. O’Callaghan offered in his first campaign press release:
“Our current representative claims to be reasonable, but his actions contradict his words,” said Conor O’Callaghan. “Instead of working for the people who elected him, David Schweikert is more interested in making worthless speeches to an empty house, obstructing Congress, and voting to undermine the will of the voters. I am stepping up because I believe we can make a real difference for our community. It’s time for a change, and I have the experience and resources to make it happen.”
The campaign has started on full thrusters, releasing its first campaign ad.
Mr. O’Callaghan graciously took the time to answer questions about himself and his candidacy for the Arizona House CD One seat.
The questions and his responses are below.
1) Please explain why voters should choose you over other Democratic or Republican candidates in the 2024 Arizona House Congressional District (CD) One Race?
“There are several reasons why voters should pick me. First and foremost, I’m the most electable candidate in the race for the general election. I was raised in the district and went to K-12 public schools here. I’m a Chaparral High School Graduate. I live in the district. My family and I moved back here in 2020. My wife Tina and I have three boys who all go to public school and are zoned to attend Chaparral as well. I’m not a politician but I’m a winner. When I set my mind to something, I achieve it. I think that’s pretty apparent from my background and my bio. I am also a lifelong Democrat and I think that in this race, we need to elect a moderate Democrat who holds the values of the Democratic Party but can build enough of a coalition to bring in independent voters and moderate Republicans because that is what it is going to take to win in the general election.”
Do you think the newly formed district lines favor you more than the current incumbent?
“I think it’s still a leans R district. I think the new boundaries make a lot more geographical sense and I’ve spent more time within the current boundaries of the district than anywhere else in my life. I know all the places and all the neighborhoods well. I feel, even with these new lines, you have to get independents and get moderate Republicans to win. I don’t know that I would say new boundaries benefit us necessarily more but I think we are very much set up for success here because even in the early days of this campaign, it’s pretty apparent to me that even a lot of Republicans do not like David Schweikert so I think it’s our race to lose but we need to be smart and strategic and nominate the right candidate.
The stakes are just too high. Schweikert voted against certifying the 2020 election, he voted against establishing the January 6th commission. He talks a moderate game when he’s in town and then goes back to Washington and votes with the likes of Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar. This is a radical representative who is not working on behalf of the district.
2) What are at least three major issues in the CD One House Race?
“For me, on a national level, the first issue is protecting a woman’s right to choose and codifying Roe V Wade.”
“The second issue is common sense gun reform. A lot of Democrats say we need to ban assault weapons. I agree. If I get elected and that bill is in front of me, I am absolutely a yes. However, I’m not sure that the current political climate is really set up for us to be able to achieve that today. It certainly will not be achievable unless we flip the House. So my view on it is there’s a big amount of white space between doing little to nothing and an assault weapons ban and the overwhelming majority of Americans favor some form of gun reform, making weapons and weapons of war harder for bad actors to access. I think those for me are the table stakes issues for the party nationally and I think they matter to voters here a lot.”
“Locally, the economy is an important issue. It’s always the economy in CD One. We’re home to a lot of small businesses, small business owners, and small business employees. We need to make sure the economy works for them and help them get what they need to succeed like fighting for them in Washington and making sure the tax code works for them. That I think is critically important in attracting more businesses here, more high-caliber individuals, and broadening the number of sectors we’re in within CD One. All those things are important.”
“However, none of that really matters if we don’t solve the water crisis. Fifty years from now, there’s not going to be anything to talk about in CD One if we don’t have water. To me, we have to fix that. There’s no obvious solution. If there were, it would be done already. We need somebody in Washington who can bring all these diverse constituencies together. It’s just not about the states involved like Arizona, Colorado, California, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. You have Native American Tribes. You have farmers. You have a whole range of disparate people that have their own interests, but our collective interest is we all need water. So, we all need to figure out how to make it work. I think we accomplish that by making a Manhattan Project on how to solve the water crisis and find solutions whether it’s desalination plants in California, the Gulf of California, or Rocky Point in Mexico. Other potential solutions include rainwater capture or big infrastructure ideas like do we start piping water from areas in the Northeast where they have abundant groundwater, and their water tables are rising. These are all things that need to be talked about and need to be coordinated and it is something that we need to fix. Lastly, there is the issue with Fondomonte with Saudi Arabian agricultural interests using precious Arizona water on vast tracts of land to grow alfalfa to feed their cattle back home because they can’t do it in their own country. Unfortunately, the water required is very demanding and without any restrictions, they’re effectively sticking a straw in the ground and sucking up all the water from surrounding areas and growing this alfalfa, harvesting it, and shipping it over to Saudi Arabia to feed their cows. This is not an indictment against the Saudis. It could be anybody. The reality is we are exporting a good amount of our water to another desert halfway around the world to feed their cows. This is insane. We need to stop this, maybe through federal restrictions on foreign ownership of water-intensive farmland. These are all things that need to be discussed with fixing the micro issues and then we need big thinking on how we fix the water crisis once and for all.”
If Mr. Schweikert is the Nominee for the Republican Party and he says you’re soft on immigration, what would your response be?
“I’m absolutely not soft on immigration. People like immigration. People don’t like disorder. What we’ve had frankly is disorder. We’ve had disorder in the Trump Administration. We’ve had disorder continue to a large degree in the Biden Administration. I think what President Biden recently did by allowing people to apply for asylum from where they are instead of coming to the border to do it has been smart. Border crossings are way down. The reality is we need immigration in America and we need immigration all along the scope of the economy. We need people to come over and harvest our crops and do manual labor in agricultural industries. On the other side of things, to maintain our technological superiority globally, we want to continue to be able to attract the best doctors, the best rocket scientists, and the best computer programmers. Immigration is a good thing. Disorder is a bad thing. I am not remotely soft on immigration. Again, like water, I do not think there is any easy fix to it but what President Biden has started to do is working and I think really what we need to do is examine our foreign policy with the countries that immigrants are coming from and try to figure out ways to keep them where they are because unless you really solve the problem at the source, anything else you’re doing is really just a band-aid and conditions will be subject to all sorts of different whims that are out of our control.”
3) How would you convince Democrats, Independents, and Moderate Republicans that you are the best candidate to represent them in Congress?
“We’re going to talk to everybody. My wife is a registered Independent. I get to see every day how Independents think. Having grown up in the district, I have a lot of family friends that I’ve known my whole life. Many of them are Moderate Republicans. I am personally a coalition builder to bring people together to find consensus. I have done this in many different facets throughout my life. My campaign team has run statewide races. They’ve had to build broad coalitions of people. They’ve had impressive margins of victory in statewide races in a state that still leans Republican. It’s a multi-faceted approach. You do not win this seat if you do not bring in Independents and Moderate Republicans. I am ready to do that.
4) Is there anything not covered in the first three questions that you would like the readers to know about you and your candidacy for the House of Representatives?
“My campaign chairperson is Justin Cooper. He was one of President Clinton’s chief aides in the White House and afterward. With Justin on a national level and my team here locally between Andie Gomez, my campaign manager, and Matt Grodsky, Ted Anderson, and Jean Lunn here at Matters of State, I think I have an A-Team in place in terms of caliber. We’re going to bring all the resources to bear to win this race. We’re going to raise a substantial amount of money and we’re going to contribute whatever it takes to get this thing over the goal line.”
“The other thing I would mention is that with my three boys, public schools are very important to me. Having gone to public schools my whole life; kids going to public schools; that’s critically important to me.”
“Some people are going to try and make a big thing out of my Wall Street career, but the reality is that the voters of CD One are smarter than that. I think having someone who is a product of this district who has thrived in public schools here, went to one of the best schools in the country, got a great job, and rose to the top of one of the most cutthroat industries in America; that makes me qualified and competent. My knowledge of how businesses, governments, and economies work is an asset, not a hindrance to the people of this district. I’ve seen all sides of Wall Street. My wife and I met on Wall Street, then she lost her job during the Great Financial Crisis. I understand that what happens on Wall Street has a direct impact on people every day. I’m someone who is going to understand how all of these things work and make sure this district works for everybody.”
“Furthermore, I took some incoming flak from Twitter crazies that said the future is not in jeopardy for my three white boys. That’s actually not true because one, their future is in jeopardy, and two, and more importantly, they’re not white boys. I’m in an interracial marriage. My wife is Persian. Her family left Iran right after the Revolution in 1979 to find a better life in America. Her story mirrors mine. The kids are half Persian and half Irish. They look much more Persian than Irish. I think that having mixed-race kids is something that is representative of Arizona and this country. Unless you are living that experience, it is difficult to explain to people or to understand but it gives me an even greater awareness of what a lot of people in this country are dealing with every day.”
“Finally, Schweikert is the embodiment of a Washington insider and someone who chooses obstruction over common sense. For me, defending our Democratic institutions, Democratic processes, breaking the gridlock, and doing things that make sense is the ultimate goal here and that’s what we’re going to get come next November.
Please click on the below social media sites to find out more information about Conor O’Callaghan and his candidacy for the Arizona CD One seat in the House of Representatives.