Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Republican challengers in CD5

They seem to be crawling out from every rock these days, begging the question -

Is it Congressman Harry Mitchell who they think is vulnerable, or repeat (soon to be perennial) candidate David Schweikert?

Even though Schweikert never stopped campaigning after his loss last year, hoping to scare off any GOP challengers for the nomination, the carpetbaggers and newbies are lining up around the block to face off against him (and at least one former foe is rumored to be eyeing a return match).

- Eric Wnuck, a "resident" of Arizona and owner of a small, out-of-state, business (OK, it seems to be one not-so-small business with offices in a number of states) is appealing to the teabaggers in the district. Never held elected office.

- Jim Ward, a professional investor and video game guy has settled in the district to run for Congress. Not a total carpetbagger he - his wife is from PV. Never held elected office.

- Chris Salvino, a doctor at Banner Good Samaritan specializing in trauma and weight loss surgery, has filed paperwork to run. His campaign treasurer is one Kelly Lawler. That name should be familiar to CD5-watchers - Lawler was the treasurer for the ethically-challenged JD Hayworth. Never held elected office.

- Jeffrey W. Smith of Gilbert has also filed for CD5. That's a particularly lousy name for an internet search, but there is a "Jeffrey W. Smith" who started a landscape maintenance company in Queen Creek last year. I am *not* sure that is him, however. What is clear is that his campaign address in Gilbert is well outside of the district (not that that ever stopped Virginian Rick Renzi from running up in CD1). I can't find any record that he has ever held elected office, but with a name like that... :)

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that he's not this "Jeff Smith."

- And then, lurking in the tall grass (that's a metaphor, there's not much grass, tall or otherwise, in CD5), is fellow perennial candidate Susan Bitter Smith. She was the strongest challenger to Schweikert in 2008 and is rumored to be looking at jumping into this cycle's race.

At the beginning of the year, it was an open secret that Schweikert was considered to be the "presumed" GOP nominee in CD5 by GOP insiders.

Apparently, those "insiders" forgot to let the "outsiders" (and at least one other "insider") in on the secret.

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