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Arizona's 5th District


AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth vs. Harry Mitchell

Arizona’s 5th District

After 12 years in Congress, Republican J.D. Hayworth is the first-ever Arizonan with a seat on the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, so many conservatives would think his re-election in Arizona’s 5th District should be a cinch.

But that’s not the case. This year, Hayworth (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 97%) faces one of the best-known politicians in his Tempe-based district in Harry Mitchell, teacher, former school board member, mayor of Tempe for 14 years and state senator. At 66, Mitchell could well be dubbed “Mr. Tempe” and clearly represents the stiffest Democratic challenge to Hayworth in a decade, ever since the GOP lawmaker won his second term over a Big Labor-backed former Democratic state chairman by just 48% to 47% in 1996.

“I’m fond of quoting Mark Twain,” mused Hayworth on the similarities with that brush with defeat in ’96 and his tough challenge this year. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. The left doesn’t like me very much because I’m a spokesman for conservatism, and I make no apologies for calling my enemies on the left what they are.” “So,” says Hayworth, “[Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman] Rahm Emanuel [Ill.], [left-wing moneybag] George Soros and the liberal 527s, and ‘Boss’ [John] Sweeney of the AFL-CIO will probably spend up to $6 million—for my opponent or through independent expenditures against me. In a perverse sort of way, I’m honored. I didn’t think I looked like Lee Majors [star of TV’s long-running ‘Six Million Dollar Man’]!”

As to why the 6-5, 225-pound lawmaker is a major target of the left, Hayworth—a former TV sportscaster and voracious reader of history—is a maestro at inveighing against liberals on subjects ranging from property rights to abortion to the success of the Bush tax cuts. Most recently, this virtuoso of the one-minute address on the House floor has emerged as a premier opponent of illegal immigration.

Hayworth has actually offered a “sense of the House” resolution calling for no guest-worker program in any immigration measure enacted by Congress, and he tried to amend the Sensenbrenner border-security ball to require proof that borders have been secured within two years after passage. The Arizonan also appears in David Bossie’s compelling movie on illegal immigration and has written a hard-hitting book Whatever It Takes (Regnery) on the issue.

Inevitably, Hayworth is asked if breaking with the President and a number of his fellow Republicans in Congress on a volatile issue feels a bit uncomfortable. “No, it doesn’t, because I’m not a rubber stamp,” he replies. Could there be any more cogent reason for conservatives to help plain-speaking J.D. Hayworth?

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as ???the man who knows everyone in Washington??? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what???s going on in the nation???s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ???Gizzi on Politics??? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ???Gizzi???s America,??? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John???s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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