Schweikert faces Democratic challenger as he seeks 7th term

Oct 12, 2022, 1:32 PM | Updated: 3:31 pm
FILE - U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., shown at Chase Field in Phoenix in this Jan. 7, 2022 fi...

FILE - U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., shown at Chase Field in Phoenix in this Jan. 7, 2022 file photo, greets people at an Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry event. Schweikert is seeking his seventh term in Congress and faces Democrat Jevin Hodge in November's election. (AP Photo/Bob Christie)

(AP Photo/Bob Christie)

PHOENIX (AP) — Republican efforts to pick up seats in Arizona’s nine-member U.S. House delegation run right through the northeast Phoenix suburbs, where six-term Republican Rep. David Schweikert is trying to persuade voters that multiple campaign finance violations don’t disqualify him from office.

Early voting began Wednesday across Arizona, with less than a month to go until Election Day on Nov. 8.

In his last two reelection races, Schweikert managed to fend off challengers despite campaign finance allegations that eventually led to fines for him and his election committee.

Now, Democrat Jevin Hodge insists Schweikert’s lapses aren’t behind him.

Hodge pointed to the $125,000 fine imposed by the Federal Election Commission on Schweikert’s campaign committee earlier this year for misreporting spending and diverting some campaign funds for his own use.

“He continues to make headlines for himself,” Hodge said.

Two years earlier, Schweikert paid a $50,000 fine and acknowledged 11 violations to settle an investigation by the U.S. House Ethics Committee, which found he was indifferent to repeated campaign finance violations and used his official staff for campaign work. He won his 2020 reelection bid by nearly 5 percentage points over a well-funded Democrat anyway.

Schweikert, who has blamed his former chief of staff for many of the issues, said he isn’t concerned about the scandal hurting his reelection chances.

“I can show you in the polling that nobody cares,” Schweikert said.

Democrats are looking to unseat Schweikert in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which includes parts of north Phoenix, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Paradise Valley. The wealthy district was renumbered and its lines redrawn during last year’s once-a-decade redistricting. It became a little less Republican, although the GOP still ranks first in voter registration there.

Democrats currently hold five of Arizona House seats, but Republicans hoping newly drawn district maps that favor them will help them pick up one — or even two — of those. A poor showing by Schweikert could dash those hopes.

Hodge, who serves as board president for a Head Start program in Phoenix, turned heads in 2020 when he came within 403 votes of winning a county Board of Supervisors seat. He chose not to challenge the results, saying he trusted the election process and the people who run it.

He hopes the slightly more moderate district, where a third of voters are registered as independents, will be receptive to his messages of lowering prescription drug costs, protecting democracy and codifying abortion rights.

“It’s a bluer district,” Hodge said. “I talk to the voters every single day.”

Schweikert maintains that his focus on the effects of inflation and federal deficit is in step with a wide range of voters in his district.

“We feel comfortable where we are right now,” Schweikert said.

Stan Barnes, a political consultant in Phoenix and former Republican state lawmaker, said Schweikert isn’t vulnerable, in part because he is well-known in the district and has Republican winds at his back this election cycle.

“Congressman Schweikert has been in tough races before, but I don’t think the 2022 general election is one of them,” Barnes said.

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has also gotten tangled up in the race. Hodge tried to attack Schweikert when the Democrat’s campaign paid $35 for a celebrity video by Arpaio. In the video, the nationally known Republican who lives in Schweikert’s district urged a person named Dave to stop committing wrongdoing, saying that jail was a bad place to be and that Dave will probably get fired from his job.

Although Schweikert’s last name was never mentioned in the video, it was clearly directed at the Republican incumbent. Hodge posted a link to the video, tweeting that even “Joe Arpaio knows David Schweikert is as shady as they come.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, the 90-year-old former sheriff maintained that he was tricked by the person who requested the video, saying he didn’t know it would be seen as an attack on Schweikert, who the former sheriff supports. Schweikert has been critical of the video.

“Childish, amateurish game,” Arpaio said. “Why did he throw me into this?”

Arpaio had been convicted of contempt of court in 2016 for disobeying a judge’s order from six years earlier to stop his traffic patrols targeting immigrants. Later that year, he lost his bid for another term as sheriff.

Nine months later, President Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio.

Hodge said he wasn’t the person who asked Arpaio to make the video, but he stood behind the decision to pay for the video and promote it on social media. “It was a business transaction,” Hodge said. “He has a Cameo (account). We submitted everything that was required.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Maurene Bullock, left, and Dr. Angela Coprew-Boyd, pray during a prayer vigil held by the Chesapeak...
Associated Press

Black pastors group holds vigil for Walmart shooting victims

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — Five days have passed since Lorenzo Gamble was killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. His mother, Linda Gamble, hasn’t been able to do much of anything, including eat, because she misses him so much. “It’s been really hard because I never, ever in a million years […]
20 hours ago
A small plane rests on live power lines after crashing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Montgomery Villag...
Associated Press

Plane caught in power lines after crash, 2 occupants unhurt

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (AP) — A small plane carrying two people got stuck in live power lines Sunday evening in Maryland, causing widespread power outages in the surrounding county as officials worked to extricate the aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the single-engine plane, which had departed White Plains, New York, crashed […]
20 hours ago
This combination of photos provided by the Chesapeake, Va., Police Department shows top row from le...
Associated Press

Walmart shooting claims teen, young woman, father, mother

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — A 16-year-old helping his family. A custodian and father of two. A mother with wedding plans. A happy-go-lucky guy. A longtime employee. That’s how friends and family described some of the six people killed at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, when a manager opened fire with a handgun before an employee […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. walks on the sideline during a NFL division...
Associated Press

NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. taken off plane in Miami

MIAMI (AP) — NFL free agent Odell Beckham Jr. was removed by police from an aircraft before takeoff at Miami International Airport after officials said he failed to respond to requests to buckle his seatbelt and appeared to be unconscious, police and airline officials said Sunday. “Fearing that Mr. Beckham was seriously ill, and that […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Chickens walk in a fenced pasture at an organic farm in Iowa on Oct. 21, 2015. Nebraska agri...
Associated Press

Bird flu prompts slaughter of 1.8M chickens in Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska agriculture officials say another 1.8 million chickens must be killed after bird flu was found on a farm in the latest sign that the outbreak that has already prompted the slaughter of more than 50 million birds nationwide continues to spread. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday that the […]
20 hours ago
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James in Centur...
Associated Press

Colorado shooting victim ‘wanted to save the family I found’

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A member of the U.S. Navy who was injured while helping prevent further harm during a shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado last weekend said Sunday that he “simply wanted to save the family that I found.” Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James made his first public comments on […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Schweikert faces Democratic challenger as he seeks 7th term