This is the ninth edition of a research project at PoliticusUSA known as Taking Back the House. You can check out the previous edition here. The purpose of this project is to analyze each Republican Congressional district in the United States and see how likely the district can go ‘Blue.’ To do this, I will take a look at the overall demographics of the district, as well as review the historical voting patterns and the record of the Congressperson representing the district. This series will run until we’ve looked at every single district in the country, which should take us right into the 2014 campaign season.
Congressional District: Arizona 6th District
U.S. Representative: David Schweikert
Median Household Income: $58,582 (National Average: $51,017)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (National Rate: 7.2%)
Gender: 51.1% Female, 48.9% Male (National Percentages: 50.8% Female, 49.2% Male)
Age: 14.6% 65 and over (National Percentage: 12.8%)
Race: 86.6% White, 2.4% Black, 4.2% Asian, 1.7% American Indian (National Percentages: 72.4% White, 12.6% Black, 4.8% Asian, 0.9% American Indian)
Ethnicity: 84.9% Non-Hispanic, 15.1% Hispanic (National Percentages: 83.6% Non-Hispanic, 16.4% Hispanic)
Urban/Rural Population Split: 96.9% Urban, 3.1% Rural (National Split: 82% Urban, 18% Rural)
District Voting Patterns: The 6th District has always been a reliably Republican district. While the lines have been changed quite a bit in 2012 and 2002 due to redistricting, its placement in the Scottsdale area and the suburbs of Phoenix has generally kept it with the same demographics. Prior to Schweikert being elected in 2012, current Republican Senator Jeff Flake represented the district through 5 consecutive terms. Flake won all of his races by at least 28 points.
After Flake decided to run for the Senate in 2012 and redistricting took effect, Schweikert decided to switch from the 5th District (which, in essence, is what the 6th District used to be) and move to the 6th. Schweikert had won a close election in 2010 in the 5th and saw that there would be tough primary challengers coming for him. Ben Quayle, who had represented the 3rd District, decided to also run for in the 6th. Therefore, we were given the odd circumstance of two current members of Congress running against each other in a primary.
In an extremely close and sometimes vicious primary election, Schweikert squeaked by Quayle, 51-49. The general election proved far less dramatic, as Schweikert defeated Democrat Matt Jette by 28 points. As far as Presidential elections, in 2012 the district voted for Mitt Romney by a margin of 60-39. In 2008, John McCain carried the same district lines by 16 ½ points.
Congressional Activity by Schweikert: Schweikert is currently in his 2nd term in the House. He is now on the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. During his previous term, he served on the Financial Services Committee. There was some controversy among conservative pundits and activists when Schweikert was removed from the Financial Services Committee. Schweikert and three other Republicans, from either the Financial Services or House Budget Committee, were reassigned to other committees by House Republican leadership due to their rigidly conservative stances and behavior with the media. Basically, they insulted and took to task too many fellow Republicans for not being conservative enough.
As you’d guess, Schweikert is an extreme fiscal conservative. He will not vote for any tax increases at all due to his pledge to Grover Norquist. He also opposes pretty much any spending increases, and feels that the debt limit should only be raised if spending cuts of a similar amount accompany it. Therefore, he voted against the so-called’ Fiscal Cliff’ on January 1st, 2013 and also voted against raising the debt ceiling and re-opening the government on October 16th. Per OpenCongress, Schweikert votes with the party 93% of the time. In 2012, the National Journal rated Schweikert as the 75th most conservative member of Congress.
When it comes to social and environmental issues, Schweikert is also as conservative as one can get. He is very pro-life, as he’s voted for every anti-abortion bill that’s come his way, including ones to cut off all federal funding to Planned Parenthood. He has an ‘A’ rating with the NRA and voted for the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, which would allow those with conceal and carry permits to carry firearms in states that do not have such permits. When it comes to immigration, he’s against anything that he considers ‘amnesty’, and wants more border security. Finally, when it comes to the environment, he’s voted to increase drilling in the Arctic, voted against the EPA regulating greenhouse gases and is a climate change denier.
Notable Quotes by Schweikert:
“In a still struggling economy, when our top priority should be creating jobs and paying down our debt, taxpayers need not be asked to open their checkbooks for such a controversial cause. Especially if that cause is taking the life of an innocent unborn child.” -May 6th, 2011 in a prepared statement.
“Arizona, perhaps more so than any other state, has borne the burden of illegal immigration. It needs to stop. The problem of illegal immigration is damaging our state and costing us billions of dollars. It’s time for the politicians in Washington to stop playing politics and do something about it. Amnesty is not an option and the toleration of ‘sanctuary cities’ must end.” – June 29th, 2011, when publicly discussing immigration reform.
Odds of District Turning Blue in 2014: Pretty low. While this district has been bounced around due to redistricting, it has dependably been ‘Red’ throughout. It is overwhelmingly white and suburban, with the median income above the national average. Schweikert appears to represent their core beliefs, which is low taxes, pro-life, defend the 2nd Amendment, keep the Mexicans out and oppose the social safety net.
Now, Schweikert is known as having a prickly personality and not getting along well with his fellow Republicans. However, that might fly well with his constituents, as it shows he’s a true believer. It also probably insulates him from getting a Tea Party challenger due to not being conservative enough. Now, can the Democrats run a pro-life moderate who is also sympathetic to gun owners? Perhaps, but even then, I don’t know if the candidate would be able to get within 10 points of Schweikert. This is probably one district where the Democrats will just have to throw the towel in for 2014.
Justin is the Managing Editor and a Contributing Writer for Politicus Sports, PoliticusUSA’s very own sports site. You can check out the site here.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).