Due to the general hubbub of the myriad races on the ballot and the economic meltdown precipitated on Wall Street, and a change in my personal work schedule that limits my ability to research, comment, and post, I haven't focused much attention on one of the most important races in the Valley this year.
Specifically, the one where long-time Tempe (and Arizona!) icon Congressman Harry Mitchell is facing a challenge from former Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert.
In a fair world, Mitchell would win the race in a walkover - he's spent over four decades serving his community as a teacher, mayor, and legislator.
As a Congressman, he's continued his service to his community and his constituents in a number of ways.
On the *big* issues, he has continued work to see that veterans receive all of the benefits that they've so richly earned, to ensure that Arizona's public safety agencies receive all of the available assistance that they need during this period of broken budgets at the local, county, and state levels and to ask the EPA hard questions when poison started flowing from the taps in parts of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.
Yet in all of his efforts on those "big" issues and others, he has never neglected his roots in Arizona, sitting down with and listening to his constituents, mentoring the next generation of community leaders and recognizing the efforts of community activists.
In a fair world, the lifetime of public service and the continued hard work for his community would be more than enough to merit returning Harry Mitchell to Congress.
However, a certain small wing (OK, a large and nearly all-emcompassing wing :) ) of the Republican Party feels that public service and hard work isn't part of an elected official's duties, hence the candidacy of David Schweikert and the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of support from purely ideological groups such as the NRA and The Feedom Project (the one dedicated to electing conservative Republicans, not the one dedicated turning released prisoners into forces for peace in their communities nor the one dedicated to freeing wrongfully convicted prisoners - neither of which serves Republican ideals). The reactionary anti-government group Club for Growth has funded a series of TV spots attacking Harry Mitchell and promoting Schweikert (mostly attacking Mitchell).
There is nothing about Schweikert, his campaign platform, or his ideological backers that indicates he is campaigning to represent the residents of CD5.
If he is elected, the "constituents" he serves will be the out-of-state ideologues and PACs that are bankrolling his campaign.
In a fair world, the keep doing his life's work, Harry Mitchell wouldn't need than our votes from us.
As we all know, though, the world isn't fair.
Harry Mitchell needs our help, both in terms of financial contributions and in terms of volunteers for his campaign. Beside the two web links in the last sentence, the campaign can be contacted at 480.755.3343. Also, the AZ Dems' coordinated campaign needs volunteers for the last two weeks of the election cycle and can be contacted at 480.820.2298.