AZ Congressional roundup: Schweikert, Quayle big winners - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

AZ Congressional roundup: Schweikert, Quayle big winners

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Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 5:54 pm | Updated: 7:25 am, Thu Nov 4, 2010.

Voters changed the balance of Arizona's congressional delegation from heavily Democratic to majority Republican on Tuesday.

Republicans picked up two seats and will have at least five of eight Arizona seats in the new Congress.

Voters rejected another term in office for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in the 1st District and Harry Mitchell in the 5th District.

Tea party favorite Paul Gosar will take over Kirkpatrick's seat and David Schweikert will replace Mitchell.

In southern Arizona, Democrats Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva held thin leads in their districts late Tuesday.

Republican Ben Quayle held onto a GOP seat being vacated by retiring Rep. John Shadegg, turning back Democratic challenger Jon Hulburd.

Voters re-elected Democrat Ed Pastor and Republicans Jeff Flake and Trent Franks by wide margins.

And in the Senate, longtime Arizona Republican John McCain easily won re-election.

The Arizona results showed two things to Arizona State University political science professor Richard Herrera.

"The first thing I take away is that Democrats did not turn out in Arizona like they did in other areas, and that led to some close-race losses," Herrera said, noting that Nevada Democrats sent majority leader Harry Reid back to the Senate with a win of about five percentage points.

"And the second thing is that Arizona may very well just be coming back to where its natural location is ideologically, and that results in a five-three Republican congressional delegation."

DISTRICT 5

Schweikert defeated incumbent Mitchell with 53 percent of the vote to Mitchell's 43 percent late Tuesday.

Schweikert benefited from a national Republican election year and millions in spending by his campaign and outside groups that linked Mitchell to President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Mitchell also spent freely and received national support, but it was too much for the popular former mayor of Tempe.

Mitchell won the seat four years ago in a tight battle with former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who was tainted by association with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The district leans Republican, and Herrera said the voters swung back to the right during a Republican year.

"I think it was the message and a combination of frustration with a lot of voters feeling betrayed by the Democrat agenda, a Republican tide, the difficulties we're having in Arizona, it all came together at once," said Schweikert, who lost to Mitchell in 2008 but came out ahead on Tuesday. "Let's face it, elections are made up of a lot of moving parts.

DISTRICT 3

The son of former Vice President Dan Quayle won a tough battle against a Democratic challenger to represent Arizona's 3rd Congressional District.

Ben Quayle overcame a series of questions during the campaign about his links to a racy website to claim the Phoenix-area seat of retiring GOP Rep. John Shadegg.

Hulburd, a Phoenix lawyer, made a strong push at upsetting Quayle's candidacy with a mix of attack ads that questioned Quayle's experience and maturity.

Quayle stood out during a 10-person primary for a hard-hitting ad where he intoned "Barack Obama is the worst president in history." He also played up his ties to Arizona.

"It feels great, you know," Quayle said of his win. "It was a long campaign, but at the end of the day we won, and we're excited about that, and the real work starts tomorrow."

Asked how victorious Republicans will make Washington and the president hear their message, Quayle said a lot depends on Obama himself.

"What the president has to realize is that winning the House in such a dramatic fashion like we did tonight, it's really a repudiation of the policies this president and this Congress had pursued," Quayle said. "So he has to understand that his economic policies, his health care policies, have been bad for our economic recovery and will be bad our long term fiscal stability. We're just going to convince him that we have better ideas to get our economy going again."

Quayle, 33, was born in Indiana and grew up in Washington, D.C. He has been working as a lawyer and managing director of a Scottsdale investment firm.

Hulburd, 50, is a longtime Phoenix lawyer who also ran an import business.

"I wanted to run a campaign with no regrets and I don't have any regrets," Hulburd said late Tuesday. "I'm glad I got in. I did know, however, that there were some things outside of my control ... including obviously what was going to be a tough, tough year for Democrats."

DISTRICT 6

Flake won re-election to a sixth term in the U.S. House.

Flake turned back a challenge from Democrat Rebecca Schneider by a wide margin. Early returns show Flake had 65 percent of the votes and Schneider had 31 percent.

Flake also easily beat Schneider in 2008.

The district includes Mesa and Chandler. Republican voters outnumber Democrats in the district.

DISTRICT 1

Gosar defeated incumbent Kirkpatrick to win Arizona's 1st Congressional District seat.

Gosar had 52 percent of the votes, while Kirkpatrick had support of only 42 percent of voters late on Tuesday.

Gosar is a Flagstaff dentist who was making his first foray into politics. He is a tea party favorite who had the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Kirkpatrick was seeking a second term in office.

The district covers northern and eastern Arizona and was held by Republican Rick Renzi before he decided not to seek re-election in 2008 while facing a corruption indictment.

DISTRICT 4

Pastor, a longtime Democrat, won re-election in Arizona's 4th Congressional District.

Pastor beat Republican challenger Janet Contreras by a wide margin in the Democrat-dominated district that includes central Phoenix and some close-in suburbs. Early returns show Pastor with 66 percent of the vote and Contreras with 28 percent.

Pastor has been in Congress since winning a special election in 1991.

DISTRICT 2

Franks easily beat an underfunded challenger to win a fifth term representing Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.

The Republican from Glendale beat Democrat John Thrasher of Phoenix. Early returns show Franks had 65 percent of the vote. Thrasher had 30 percent.

Thrasher also lost to Franks in 2006 and 2008, with the incumbent getting 59 percent of the vote both times.

The district stretches from the west Phoenix suburbs north and west to the Colorado River and includes Mohave County. It has traditionally been a Republican stronghold.

U.S. SENATE

Republican John McCain put the finishing touches Tuesday on a re-election campaign that initially promised to be a fight for his political life but ended as a blowout that gave him a fifth term in the U.S. Senate.

McCain trounced little-known Democrat Rodney Glassman, carrying about 60 percent of the vote, compared to Glassman's 34 percent.

"It's very difficult to beat John McCain," said Fred Solop, chairman of Northern Arizona University's politics and international affairs department. "He is a former presidential candidate, certainly an icon in Arizona."

An Associated Press analysis of preliminary exit poll results and pre-election polls shows that McCain won over six of 10 independent voters, and nine of 10 Republicans. The analysis also found that most voters who say they support the tea party movement voted for McCain, while most who oppose the movement voted for Glassman.

"I look forward to going back to Washington and carrying out what I think is the mandate, which is to stop the spending, repeal and replace Obamacare, get our expenses under control and get the border secured," McCain said.

The general election leg of McCain's campaign proved less formidable than his Republican primary challenge from former six-term congressman J.D. Hayworth.

Glassman is a 32-year-old former Tucson city councilman who cast himself as an earnest advocate of public education and alternative energy.

Glassman didn't gain much traction in saying that the state has missed out on funding for public works projects because of McCain's opposition to special funding requests known as earmarks. Glassman also was dogged by allegations that his 2005 doctoral dissertation contained plagiarized material. He denied the allegation.

Glassman said McCain's leftover campaign funds from his failed presidential bid posed a barrier for his Senate challengers. "From the very beginning, there was a financial strength that was very difficult to compete with," Glassman said.

McCain won another Senate term despite having been labeled at the outset of his re-election campaign as a vulnerable incumbent. In the end, he crushed Hayworth in the primary.

McCain struck a pugnacious tone in the primary. McCain used some of the nearly $20 million he spent to defeat Hayworth on a TV ad in which he walked along a section of fortified border with Mexico, fumed about smugglers and declared, "Complete the danged fence."

He also accused Hayworth of being a "huckster" for appearing in an infomercial promoting free government money on behalf of a company accused of swindling customers.

He didn't show the same intensity in the race against Glassman, Green Party candidate Jerry Joslyn and Libertarian David Nolan.

Instead, his general election campaign consisted mostly of making appearances on behalf of other candidates, running one statewide TV ad, participating in one televised debate and portraying Glassman as an inexperienced candidate.

The only general election TV ad advocating for his re-election had a soft-sell message that contained a voice-over from the 74-year-old candidate saying he has stood up for the state and would return the Arizona to prosperity.

McCain has represented Arizona in Congress for nearly three decades and never lost a race in the state.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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