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Republicans poised to retain Arizona congressional district as Schweikert faces lackluster contenders

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) has nine challengers trying to end his 14-year tenure in Congress. Despite millions of Democratic dollars, Republicans will keep Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. The challengers failed to establish any notoriety in a crowded election that will be decided in the July 30 primary.

The landscape for Democrats includes a $1.6 million plan to buy broadcast and digital ads in the Phoenix media market, which reaches Schweikert’s district. Democrats could highlight Schweikert’s record of being ardently anti-abortion. A June Fox News poll found that 70% of Arizona voters support a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to abortion through fetal viability, about 24 weeks. However, Schweikert came out against the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision upholding the 1864 abortion ban on X because “this issue should be decided by Arizonans, not legislated from the bench.” 

Anita Malik, a Democrat who lost to Schweikert in 2018, said the party has never had “the ground support in a way that you need to really overcome the registration advantage that the Republicans still have.” Data from the Arizona secretary of state show that in Schweikert’s district, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 188,000 to 134,000, with 158,000 independents. 

The fact is that the landscape is not conducive to a Democratic pickup. They will lose. President Joe Biden was weak in 2020 in Arizona, where he only carried the state by 10,000 votes and is now polling 5 percentage points below former President Donald Trump on average. Schweikert was able to eke out a win in 2022 by under 1 point. Many considered 2022 a “blue wave” year, so in one of the worst election years for Republicans, he nevertheless pulled out the win.

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Schweikert has no serious challenger in the primary. In the general election, he should be able to hold strong. The leading Democratic fundraiser in the race, Connor O’Callaghan, has almost the same amount of money as Schweikert with $1.2 million in his coffers. Normally, comparable figures like the $1.2 million for O’Callaghan and Schweikert would be concerning, but even if O’Callaghan wins his primary, the party will likely fail to vote for him. O’Callaghan has very little that makes him unique as he doesn’t differentiate himself from the five out of six “moderate” candidates in the race. He settles for the base-level fact that two other candidates used to be Republicans. The voters will decide if O’Callaghan is to face Schweikert during Arizona’s July 30 primary.

It can be foreseen that Schweikert will win by an even greater margin than his last election. He enjoys a fundraising advantage over nearly all Democratic candidates despite not yet benefiting from typical incumbent advantages. He will also be the beneficiary of the polls suggesting a Trump victory in Arizona.

Schweikert will win in November.

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