Arizona: State Official Exits GOP Race for Mitchell’s Seat

Posted March 12, 2008 at 6:41pm

The crowded Republican primary in the 5th district got a little less crowded this week when Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jeff Hatch-Miller (R) announced that he was dropping out of the race.

In recent days, Hatch-Miller’s campaign was jolted by the sudden death of a staff member, and he was also coping with a significant vacancy in his state government office.

“The difficulties of the past week have caused me to reflect and review my priorities,” Hatch-Miller said, according to Wednesday’s Arizona Republic. “However, I am no way abandoning my commitment to public service.”

There is a spirited Republican primary under way for the right to take on freshman Rep. Harry Mitchell (D), who ousted then-Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) in 2006 despite the GOP lean of the suburban Phoenix district.

The top Republican contenders are state Rep. Mark Anderson, former state Rep. Laura Knaperek, lobbyist Jim Ogsbury and former Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert. Former Scottsdale City Councilwoman Susan Bitter Smith (R) is also thinking of joining the fray.
— Josh Kurtz