What do the Democrats running for Arizona CD-1 think of immigration, economy?

May 17, 2024, 4:15 AM | Updated: 2:52 pm

Arizona Congressional District 1 Democratic primary debate recap...

The six Democrats want to win the Arizona primary election on July 30. (Arizona Clean Elections screenshot/via YouTube)

(Arizona Clean Elections screenshot/via YouTube)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Congressional District 1 Democratic primary debate took place on May 15.

Political analysts say this competitive district could flip from red to blue when votes are cast in November. After all, Republican incumbent David Schweikert won his seat by less than 1% in 2022.

The six candidates who want to go toe-to-toe with Schweikert pitched themselves as his ideal Democratic rival in a heated debate that lasted around an hour.

Prospective candidates running in the CD-1 Democratic primary election offered their views across topics such as abortion, immigration and the economy.

Which Democrats are running for CD-1 in Arizona?

Here are the six candidates:

  • Andrei Cherny, who served as Arizona Assistant Attorney General (2006-2009) and was chair of the Arizona Democratic Party (2011-2012)
  • Marlene Galán-Woods, a former 12News broadcast journalist endorsed by EMILYs List, the nation’s top resource for women in politics
  • Amish Shah, a three-term member of the Arizona House of Representatives with experience as a physician for the Mayo Clinic
  • Conor O’Callaghan, a managing director at a finance company who says he has more cash on hand than his CD-1 rivals (including Schweikert)
  • Andrew Horne, an orthodontist and small business owner
  • Kurt Kroemer, who was the CEO for the American Red Cross in Arizona, COO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in America and a congressional investigator for the U.S. Government Accountability Office

Although they all agreed on reproductive rights and the importance of bipartisan support, they disagreed on various other issues.

Recap of Arizona Congressional District 1 Democratic primary debate

CD-1 Democratic debate moderators Richard Ruelas and Steve Goldstein first asked the candidates about the economy.

They brought up recent economic boons coming to Arizona, including Intel’s move to expand its chipmaking plant in Chandler, which will create over 10,000 local jobs.

Despite the fact that politicians say this and similar expansions will benefit the economy, many Arizonans still struggle to make ends meet.

How do the Democrats running for CD-1 feel about Arizona economy?

Shah said housing and health care are pressing issues that weigh down Valley residents.

Cherny blamed the high prices of gas, groceries and homes on Schweikert.

“David Schweikert was responsible for the largest tax cut ever for big corporations and billionaires and at the same time the largest tax increase for middle-class families that we ever saw in American history,” Cherny said.

Kroemer said Democrats should increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as well as invest in Pre-K education to help working families.

“Over time, those programs pay for themselves. It is fiscally responsible to invest in our families,” Kroemer said.

O’Callaghan said it’s time to sunset the Trump tax cuts, which he described as detrimental to the middle class and to small businesses.

“You can’t push for these tax cuts and then say we have to cut Medicare and Social Security to make up for it,” O’Callaghan said. “We need to revamp our tax code.”

Galán-Woods vowed to uplift grocery store workers, firefighters, educators, carpenters and other essential workers.

“There is still a disconnect between how much money folks are bringing home and how much they have left over for basic necessities,” Galán-Woods said. “There’s gonna be a tax cut? It needs to be for the middle class.”

Horne agreed with O’Callaghan and Galán-Woods in repealing the Trump tax cuts. He also supported business expansion such as the TSMC facilities coming to Phoenix because they bring in union jobs.

“We need to be speaking with people about how they can get and maintain good jobs and how they can change from industry to industry,” Horne said.


What do the Democratic CD-1 hopefuls think of the border?

The moderators then asked the candidates whether or not they believe there is a border crisis. Also, what would each of them do to solve issues along the U.S.-Mexico border?

Cherny didn’t acknowledge the word “crisis” in his answer, while Kroemer staunchly said there’s no crisis.

Kroemer said he wanted to solve long processing times by increasing the number of immigration judges and staff. He also refuted the idea that undocumented immigration is connected to crime.

“Immigration, even those who are coming across undocumented, is not increasing crime,” Kroemer said.

Crime is at historic lows, he added, saying the murder rate went down 13% last year.

“About 85-90% of all drugs coming across the border are brought in by U.S. citizens at ports of entry,” Kroemer said.

These CD-1 Democratic candidates said there is a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border

O’Callaghan, on the other hand, said there is a crisis, along with Galán-Woods, Shah and Horne. He proposed a four-pronged approach to fixing immigration issues:

  • Economically developing other countries so immigrants can flourish in their home countries
  • Working with Mexican counterparts to secure the border
  • Use technology to create a secure virtual border wall
  • Revamp the immigration judge and court system

Galán-Woods called for comprehensive border reform, which would include a better pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Additionally, she called for a better worker VISA program to draw from the “rich employment base” coming over the border.

Shah called for better immigrant processing, improved worker programs and more punishments for drug traffickers.

“I would like to see the tiny group of people who are engaged in drug trafficking getting fentanyl into Arizona and those that are human trafficking to be held accountable, meaning either deported or put in jail,” Shah said.

Horne said he wanted to help Border Patrol agents and see faster processing for immigrants.

“The people crossing across the border have great intentions,” Horne said.

Arizona Congressional District 1 Democratic candidates compete to win primary

Whichever one of the six Democratic CD-1 candidates who wins the primary on July 30 will run against Schweikert in the general election on Nov. 5.

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What do the Democrats running for Arizona CD-1 think of immigration, economy?