Republican incumbent Rep. David Schweikert is hoping to overcome the shadow of scandal and a tough political landscape to win a fifth term against Democrat challenger Anita Malik in the 6th Congressional District.
His district, which covers the northeast Valley, from Cave Creek and Carefree south to the Salt River Reservation near Tempe, including Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, has been a safe bet for Republicans for years.
But Democrats fired up over President Donald Trump’s administration believe the 6th Congressional District’s shifting suburban, college-educated demographics gives them a better shot at an upset.
Schweikert, a four-term congressman, has been dogged by an ethics investigation in connection with allegations of possible misspending by him or his former chief of staff, Oliver Schwab.
Schwab’s spending came into question last year in a report in the Washington Examiner. In April, he repaid Schweikert’s campaign more than $50,000 for what was described as “erroneous reimbursement.”
Schweikert, 56, is a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and has helped shape the Trump tax cuts and Republican efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.
Malik, 42, supports a single-payer health-care system and low-cost coverage for all, citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients known as “dreamers,” protecting women’s access to abortion and ending super PACs.
She scaled back campaigning after she disclosed her husband was underwent surgery for brain abscesses, but said she was in the race “to win” it.
During a public debate hosted by Arizona PBS (Channel 8) and The Arizona Republic, Schweikert appeared to talk down to Malik. He said that under the old tax rules, the top taxpayers accounted for 84 percent of the nation’s tax revenues. Now, that rises to 87 percent, he said.
“Turns out 87 is bigger than 84,” he said.
Malik considered that comment a “condescension.” Schweikert later apologized.
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