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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

AZ-05: Harry Mitchell to Challenge Hayworth

Posted by DavidNYC

AZ State Sen. Harry Mitchell is apparently set to challenge Rep J.D. Hayworth, who represents Arizona's 5th CD. For whatever reason, Mitchell is delaying a formal announcement until April (why the wait?), but regardless, this move would make him the second AZ Dem Chair to seek office this year (the other being Jim Pederson). Apparently, Mitchell is regarded as a top-tier candidate, and it would be fantastic if he could put this race in play, especially since things took a serious turn for the worse in AZ-01 with the departure of Jack Jackson.

In Mitchell's own district, Republicans have a slight registration edge, which indicates he must have some crossover appeal (at least to independents) since he won his last contest with over 60% of the vote. The 5th CD, meanwhile, went for Bush 54-45, which I'd say is decent in the scheme of things (not many districts are much closer), but still fairly daunting. Registered Republicans outnumber Dems 156K to 100K, but there are 96K independents in the district as well (PDF). Given that indies nationwide have turned against Bush, this suggests that there may be some opportunities here.

One interesting detail: As I say, Bush got 54% of the vote here, but Hayworth got "only" 59%. A 59-38 win might seem quite crushing, but here's another set of numbers to look at: $1,356,723 vs. $4,898. The former is how much Hayworth spent last time out - the latter is how much his opponent shelled out. I'm pretty amazed that Hayworth would spent $1.4M against a nobody in the first place, but, moreover, that he'd have so little to show for it. A 277-to-1 spending margin should net you more than just five points on top of Bush. By way of contrast, take a look at OH-16, a district with almost identical presidential numbers (54-46). Ralph Regula spent $600K vs. Jeff Seemann's $100K-or-so and still racked up 67% of the vote. I think Hayworth must have some kind of as-yet-unidentified weakness.

One quick aside: You may last have heard of Hayworth this past fall, when he told Don Imus he didn't want Bush campaigning with him. Within a couple of weeks, Luca Brazi had left a horsehead in ol' JD's bed, and he was singing a different tune. But let's see if Hayworth sticks by his newfound love for President 34% come November.

Anyhow, I don't believe Mitchell has his own webpage up yet, but check out Draft Harry Mitchell in the meantime. This race may yet become one to watch. CQ rates this race as "Safe Republican" for now, but let's see if that call changes soon.

UPDATE: Forgot about this. An internal DCCC poll last month showed Mitchell leading Hayworth, 43-42.

Posted at 04:21 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Arizona | Technorati

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I know that this is off topic but whatever happened in OH-16? Who is running and do we have a shot?

Posted by: D in FL. [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 14, 2006 05:11 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

No one we've ever heard of. Seemann was booted from the ballot for a lack of valid signatures (ala Charlie Wilson). Our real chance will come in 2008, when Regula retires. This year, there's nothin' doin'.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 14, 2006 05:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Got more candidates..

MO-08: Retired teacher Veronica J. Hambacker is running against Jo Ann Emerson. More here.

SC-04: Retired Michelin Executive William Griffith is running against Bob Inglis. More here.

MO-8 went 64/36 for Bush. SC-4 went 66/34 for Bush.

But even in deep red districts, credible people are stepping up to take on Republicans.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 14, 2006 05:24 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It's true that Elizabeth Rogers did a lot better than I expected against Hayworth in 2004, but you should keep in mind that Hayworth's main opponent that cycle, was a fellow Republican, Roselyn O'Connell, who was the moderate, pro-choice President of the National Federation of Republican Women. So Hayworth spent most of that money crushing O'Connell 86-14 rather than against Rogers, who had the most inane campaign slogan I have EVER seen in politics: "Elizabeth Rogers: Because -- Is Hay Worth It?" Thankfully she took it down from her site after I cried out in outrage.

Posted by: Nonpartisan [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 14, 2006 09:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

NP: Thanks for adding that key detail. Nonetheless, it strikes me that Hayworth materially "underperformed" what an incumbent Republican in a district with those demos ought to have gotten.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 14, 2006 10:41 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Bush/Kerry H2H, AZ-05: 54/46 Bush
Hayworth's showing in 2004: 59.497%
The amount of money spent by Rogers: $4898

The average difference between the showing of Republican Congressmen and the showing of Bush in their district: Around 7 percentage points.

Hayworth ran ahead of Bush by 5 points.

Hayworth running behind Bush, despite having no real opposition, is a poor sign for him.

Especially because Bush's job approval is below 50% in Hayworth's district (Bush got 55% statewide, and his SUSA approval rating in Arizona is at 46%)

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 14, 2006 11:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There is another Democrat in this race who has been working hard to secure this primary for a couple of years. He has attended party meetings through the area regularly and has an active support in local volunteers. Harry Mitchell is well liked, but Larry King has been campaigning for some time and has some local support.

AND the local Dems who are supporting him are mad that Rahm Emanuel would ignore Larry King and find someone else to anoint. It is a little like the whole Duckworth/ Cegelis episode in Illinois.

Too bad the DCC can't respect the local party anymore.

Posted by: DennisAZ [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 23, 2006 11:54 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Oh, and here is the stuff on Larry King. He is a well respected local judge and is active in a large number of local organizations.He is also one of the more prominent African Americans in the state of Arizona. BUT the national party let word out that they wanted to recruit someone and so it was printed in the local paper that they were busy trying to recruit their own candidate. And then they got one.

I will support the local Dem, but I do hate the fact that the national party wants to come in and announce who we will nominate when someone else has been campaigning hard for two years to take this seat.

Here is Larry King's site:

Posted by: DennisAZ [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 24, 2006 12:00 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

While I'm sure Larry is a great guy, the problem with your argument is that Harry Mitchell is pretty intensely "local" himself:

Tempe city councillor
Tempe Mayor (they gave him his own statue, you know)
State senator
AZ Democratic Party Chair

I think the Duckworth/Cegelis comparisons are off-base. This is a case of the DCCC recruiting a candidate with a great amount of local support and fame. In short, he seems to be a great fit for the district in terms of appeal, name recognition and experience.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 24, 2006 12:06 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment