GOP eyes Arizona US House seats in bid to flip control

Nov 8, 2022, 3:00 AM | Updated: 6:07 pm
CORRECTS DATE TO AUG. 19, 2022, INSTEAD OF OCT. 18, 2022 - Juan Ciscomani, Republican U.S. House ca...

CORRECTS DATE TO AUG. 19, 2022, INSTEAD OF OCT. 18, 2022 - Juan Ciscomani, Republican U.S. House candidate, 6th District, speaks at the RNC Hispanic Community Center, in Tucson, Ariz., Aug. 19, 2022. Arizona's only open congressional seat has featured some buzzwords spoken by candidates on both sides: extreme and the American dream. Ciscomani says he's living the American dream as someone who became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Democrat Kirsten Engel says she's trying to renew the American dream by fighting against a pre-statehood ban on abortion in Arizona. (Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

(Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

PHOENIX (AP) — The partisan makeup of Arizona’s U.S. House delegation and control of Congress itself are up for grabs Tuesday, with Republicans hoping to shift the state’s 5-4 Democratic tilt by picking up two and possibly three seats.

Redistricting after the 2020 U.S. Census gave the GOP candidates a leg up in those three districts. Meanwhile, a district that had strongly favored Republicans for the past decade got only slightly less GOP-friendly. The other five districts are shoo-ins for the incumbents in districts that heavily favor the sitting members of Congress.

Nationally, Republicans need to net just five seats to take control of the U.S. House.

The most vulnerable Democratic incumbent is three-term U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, whose sprawling 2nd Congressional District covers much of northeastern Arizona and dips south to the northern Tucson suburbs. Redistricting remade the district into one that strongly favors the GOP by drawing in the Prescott area.

O’Halleran hopes his voting record as a moderate is enough to overcome the heavy Republican advantage as he faces political newcomer Eli Crane. A businessman and former Navy SEAL, Crane has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton has a better chance of beating Republican Kelly Cooper, a restaurant owner and Marine veteran who is another political newcomer, in the 4th District that includes parts of Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix and Chandler. The district has been held by Democrats since being created a decade ago, but Stanton faces a tougher fight as he seeks a third term.

Cooper, who also has Trump’s backing, blames Stanton and President Joe Biden for inflation, high gas prices and the number of border crossings.

Stanton points to Cooper’s call to defund the FBI, release people who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and paints Cooper as an extremist on abortion, which has been a big focus for Democrats this year.

Southern Arizona’s 6th District, held by retiring Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, also is slightly less favorable to Democrats under maps approved last year by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Republicans have chosen Juan Ciscomani, a former senior adviser to outgoing GOP Gov. Doug Ducey with strong ties to the business community, as their candidate in the district that runs from Tucson east to the New Mexico border. He’s facing Kirsten Engel, an environmental law professor who resigned from the state Legislature to run for Congress.

The lone Republican U.S. House incumbent facing a realistic challenge is David Schweikert, whose wealthy 1st Congressional District covers parts of northeast Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills. He faces Democrat Jevin Hodge, who runs a Head Start program and has called out Schweikert for past ethics issues and his support for Trump.

Schweikert says voters in the slightly less GOP-tilted district prefer his positions on the economy.

Three other Republicans and two Democrats are on the ballot but are expected to cruise to victory because of the political makeup of their districts and lack of opponents. They are Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego in the 3rd District and Raul Grijalva in the 7th and GOP Reps. Andy Biggs in the 5th District, Debbie Lesko in the 8th and Paul Gosar in the 9th. Lesko and Gosar face only write-in candidates.

___

Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections. And follow the AP’s election coverage of the 2022 elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

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              CORRECTS DATE TO AUG. 19, 2022, INSTEAD OF OCT. 18, 2022 - Juan Ciscomani, Republican U.S. House candidate, 6th District, speaks at the RNC Hispanic Community Center, in Tucson, Ariz., Aug. 19, 2022. Arizona's only open congressional seat has featured some buzzwords spoken by candidates on both sides: extreme and the American dream. Ciscomani says he's living the American dream as someone who became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Democrat Kirsten Engel says she's trying to renew the American dream by fighting against a pre-statehood ban on abortion in Arizona. (Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
            
              Arizona Republican U.S. House candidate Kelly Cooper speaks at a rally, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Chandler, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
            
              Arizona Democratic U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton appears at an event, Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Phoenix. The incumbent Stanton faces Republican challenger Kelly Cooper in the upcoming 2022 general election. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              FILE - Eli Crane, a Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District in Arizona, is introduced by former President Donald Trump as Trump speaks at a "Save America" rally on July 22, 2022, in Prescott, Ariz. The vast 2nd Congressional District in Arizona will be a key factor in determining which political party has the majority in the state's delegation. Former Navy SEAL Eli Crane emerged from a crowded field of Republicans in the primary to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom O'Halleran in the Nov. 8 general election. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
            FILE - Rep. Tom O'Halleran, D-Ariz., speaks with reporters about the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Washington. The vast 2nd Congressional District in Arizona will be a key factor in determining which political party has the majority in the state's delegation. The district hasn't been solidly Democrat or Republican in years past.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) 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) Democratic Congressional candidate Jevin Hodge stands for a photo, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Hodge is trying t unseat U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz. in November. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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GOP eyes Arizona US House seats in bid to flip control