Arizona Democrat Rep. Amish Shah (D5) becomes the fourth Democrat to resign from the AZ House this year. Citing his intent to join the crowded field running against embattled Republican congressman David Schweikert (CD1), his departure on Thursday, February 1. 2024, comes one day after caucus co-member Eleezah Sun (D22) stepped down ahead of her looming ethics ouster. Arizona Globe reported on her departure here.
Shah served as an emergency room physician for 20 years prior to winning Democrat Ken Clark’s vacated House seat in 2019. Fast-forwarding to 2024, Shah jumps into the midst of a white-hot Democrat attack on Schweikert’s seat. As one of the most consistent conservative voices in Congress, Schweikert has the dubious honor of being squarely in the crosshairs of the Democrat election machine. Named the 15th most vulnerable Republican in the House, his 2024 race is expected to be among the most expensive in the nation.
The number of Democrats vying for a shot at Shweikert’s seat has ballooned. Shah, the latest to announce, is competing against a wide swath of Democrat contenders. His challengers include Conor O’Callaghan, Andrew Horne, Kurt Kroemer, Marlene Galán-Woods, Delina DiSanto, Andrei Cherny, Robert Glasgow, and Cody Newman. Each candidate argues that they’re best positioned to fight Schweikert, ensuring a bloody and costly battle that will likely leave them bruised for the general. Two independents, Bryce Beckstrom and Sarah Wharton, will likely make their case against Shweikert and the winning Democrat.
In 2022, Schweikert narrowly defeated Democrat challenger Jevin Hodge, a race won by less than one percent. Hodges blamed the loss on weaker-than-expected Democrat turnout, an outcome expected in 2024 due to Biden’s abysmal polling. Democrats hope to pump up voter interest this year by including an abortion bill on the Arizona ballot. Citing successes in 2022 and 2023 attributable to the abortion rights issue, they’re working with Governor Hobbs to get an initiative in front of voters. Shweikert has been a consistent voice against unfettered abortion, something that the Democrat believe makes him vulnerable.
Schwiekert also faces a Republican primary challenge from businessman Paul “PT” Burton. Although a political newcomer, Burton has been around political entities for years. His company, Liberty Promotional Services, is a media and advertising consultancy focused on what the company describes as “businesses, community organizations, and not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to the Founding principles of our Great Nation.”
It’s unclear which Democrat stands the greatest likelihood of facing Schweikert in October. Shah, O’Callaghan, and Cherny have stronger name recognition, but the primary will likely hinge on which candidate will raise enough money to braek through the noise. And with CD1 currently “leaning Republican,” coupled with Schweikert’s reputation as a tough political fighter and Biden’s lagging popularity, it’s unlikely the race will be an easy one for any Democrat.
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