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Arizona - 5th District

Incumbent -- Harry E. Mitchell (D) ; Defeated by David Schweikert, R, in general election on November 2, 2010

Tossup
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Mitchell is one of more than a few members of the Democrats' vaunted class of 2006 in jeopardy this cycle. He knocked then-Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) out of office that year, and in 2008, with help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he fended off a challenge from former state Rep. David Schweikert.

After winning a competitive primary, Schweikert is challenging Mitchell once again. Schweikert brings reinforcements from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which named him a Young Gun and has reserved three weeks of TV time in the district, as well as fundraising help from the anti-tax Club for Growth.

Polling by both parties shows the seat is up for grabs: Internal polling for Schweikert found he led Mitchell by 8 points, while a poll conducted for Mitchell showed the race was a dead heat. The Mitchell campaign continues to accuse Schweikert of making money off foreclosed homes, referring to him as a "vulture."

Meanwhile, a Schweikert ad in mid-September summed up the challenger's argument against Mitchell: "Congressman Mitchell. Liberal, negative, wrong."

Schweikert announced his campaign had hit the $1 million mark in total contributions on Sept. 24, but through the most recent fundraising report on Aug. 4, he was trailing Mitchell by $610,000 in cash on hand.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Wealth, beautiful sunsets and conservative politics abound in the 5th, which takes in a sliver of Phoenix and spreads east to Tempe, Scottsdale and the western parts of Chandler and Mesa. The 5th also encompasses smaller towns that highlight the area's trademarks: nature and leisure.

With luxury resorts, golf courses, museums, art galleries and spring training baseball, the district relies on the success of its hospitality and tourism industries and caters to both business travelers and vacationers. The 5th's part of Phoenix includes the zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden.

American Indians comprise less than 3 percent of the majority-white district, but casinos and resorts at Salt River and Fort McDowell Indian reservations lure guests to the district. Salt River also boats the Scottsdale Pavilions shopping mall.

Health care is a steady employer in the 5th, and Mayo Clinic research facilities employ many district residents.

Scottsdale and Fountain Hills draw retirees and their bank accounts to the state's wealthiest district. To the south, Tempe hosts Arizona State University.

Tempe's younger and more liberal voters can offset some of the 5th's GOP bent, but there are more independents registered to vote here than Democrats. John McCain won the district by almost 5 percentage points in the 2008 presidential election.

Major Industry

Tourism, education, health care

Cities

Scottsdale (pt.), 217,219; Tempe (pt.), 161,719; Mesa (pt.), 89,530; Phoenix (pt.), 86,824

notable

Taliesin West in Scottsdale was Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home.

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