Arizona Fifth District
(Ross D. Franklin/AP, File)
Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) vs. David Schweikert (R)
Mitchell won in 2008, 53-44
The 2008 presidential vote went to Arizona favorite son and Republican nominee John McCain, 52 percent to 47 percent, in this district which sits just outside Phoenix and includes Scottsdale. Nevertheless, Democrat Mitchell outspent his opponent and took the House seat. This year, polls show the GOP nominee and former Maricopa County Treasurer Schweikert neck-and-neck with incumbent Mitchell.
A schoolteacher turned mayor and eventually state senator, Mitchell has run on his personal relationships with district voters and on his independence during his two terms on Capitol Hill. Schweikert, who has been endorsed by national conservative organizations like FreedomWorks and Arizona Tea Party groups, has attacked Mitchell for his votes in favor of controversial legislation such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP; the economic stimulus; and healthcare reform. Schweikert also has attacked Mitchell on the economy, a particularly pressing issue in a state where the jobless rate has reached 10 percent. A poll conducted in August by a Republican firm gave Schweikert a 6-point lead, while Democratic polls subsequently released have put Mitchell anywhere from 1 to 7 points ahead.