Arizona US House Races Heat Up Ahead of Aug. 2 Primary

Whether Trump-endorsed Congressman David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) can move past his legal and ethical troubles with the federal government remains to be seen as he seeks re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the Arizona primary next month.

In January, Schweikert’s campaign agreed to pay a $125,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for campaign finance violations.

He was fined $50,000 in July 2020 by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee after admitting to 11 rules violations, including misuse of campaign funds.

Schweikert is now battling a lawsuit by an Arizona man who claims Schweikert is running a “homophobic” ad campaign against his main opponent Elijah Norton.

Schweikert has served as the U.S. representative for Arizona congressional Districts 5 and 6 since 2011 and seeks to represent the newly redrawn Republican-leaning Congressional District 1. He will face two challengers in the Aug. 2 primary.

A ‘Tireless Advocate’

In June, Schweikert joined a list of Trump-endorsed America First candidates, with the former president touting Schweikert as a “tireless advocate” for Arizona and “Principled Conservative” on social media.

In November 2021, the conservative group Freedom Works named Schweikert its member of the month, calling him “the gold standard when it comes to principled conservative leadership on Capitol Hill.”

Norton has made Schweikert’s ethical rules lapses a central issue in his campaign.

“The citizens of Arizona deserve better than a representative mired in ethics violations more committed to self-preservation than doing the people’s business,” Norton said on his website.

Norton told The Epoch Times he is running for office because “the people of the Northeast Valley deserve ethical and true conservative leadership restored in Washington.

Norton, an Arizona businessman with no known endorsements, currently leads in fund-raising with over $5 million in campaign finances raised to date.

Schweikert’s campaign financial arm, Friends of David Schweikert, has received over $1.3 million since July 13, while Josh Barnett trails with just over $28,000 raised.

Norton believes that his lack of political experience and business acumen are strengths as he works to unseat the five-term incumbent Schweikert.

Norton is the president and founder of Veritas Global Protection, a vehicle protection plan business located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

End Corruption in Government

With a picture of Donald Trump featured prominently on his website, Norton said Arizona “needs a representative in Congress that fights the Biden administration when they try to bring their liberal and open borders agenda into our communities.”

A pro-life candidate, Norton also believes Washington must take a more determined stance with China. He opposes progressive programs such as Critical Race Theory that divide the country.

Schweikert’s platform also calls for a secure border, tax reduction, and election integrity, and drew fire when he voted to reject Arizona’s 2020 state-certified election results following allegations of voter fraud.

Barnett recently won the endorsement of Trump-endorsed Kari Lake, the current Republican front-runner for governor of Arizona.

“As a business owner and family man, I have witnessed the corruption and disregard for our Constitution that is eroding liberty in our country,” Barnett said on his website. “Instead of doing what is right, politicians are pushing legislation and bad ideas in order to advance themselves or their political party without regard for the people.”

The Democratic side includes primary candidates Jevin Hodge, Adam Metzendorf, and write-in candidate Delina DiSanto.

Passion and Strength

A registered nurse and small business owner, DiSanto believes her “life issues” experience gives her the “passion and strength” to serve in Congress.

DiSanto said the critical issues in her campaign are ending discrimination, improving health access and education, supporting veterans, and a secure southern border.

“I believe in technology to detect illegal activity early and put an end to sexual trafficking. We also need to make the path to citizenship understandable and less intimidating so people are incentivized to come out of the shadows. We must reform our immigration laws and come together to find the best solutions for our changing economy,” DiSanto said on her website.

In U.S. House District 2, incumbent Democrat Tom O’Halloran is running unopposed.

A full slate of Republican candidates includes Arizona state Rep. Walter Blackman, Eli Crane, Gold Star father Mark DeLuzio, Steven Krystofiak, John Moore, Ron Watkins, and Andy Yates.

“America is the greatest and freest country on God’s earth—but these are perilous days for our nation,” DeLuzio said in an email to The Epoch Times. “Only a return to the principles of individual liberty, economic opportunity, and Constitutionally limited government can secure our future.

“Like President Trump, I’m not a politician. I’m a successful businessman who will put America first. That means standing up to our great global competitor, Communist China.”

DeLuzio lost his son, Steven, who joined the military after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan. His other son also left his career to enter military service.

Fight for Freedom

“I am running for Congress to carry their fight for freedom to the Capitol, where it’s needed most,” DeLuzio said. “Guided by a vision of our Founding Fathers and inspired by the service of my sons, I will work to restore America’s prosperity and power.”

Watkins, the former administrator of the user message board 8kun, previously called 8chan, said he entered the race to battle against corrupt politicians.

“Our world has entered a catastrophically dangerous epoch,” Watkins told The Epoch Times. “Evil is masquerading as good, our youth is corrupted by those that should be protecting them, and fraudulent leaders are intentionally tainting the respect that our glorious nation has once commanded.

“Our people are now suffering and need a champion to stand up and represent them in this great battle against nefarious and wickedly deceitful politicians who are often so willing to sell our country to the enemy by accepting dark money from evil communist regimes in exchange for traitorous policy.”

Krystofiak describes himself as a conservative farmer and small business owner with “deep Christian roots” and a philosophy of “getting back to basics.”

“That means a strong military, a secure border, and it means fully funded fire protection on federal lands here in Arizona,” and to “ensure everyone’s guaranteed right under the 2nd Amendment is always protected,” Krystofiak told The Epoch Times.

Crane, a former Navy SEAL Team 3 member, said he decided to run for Congress last July after “seeing the greatest nation on earth destroyed from within by radical leftists.”

Biden’s ‘Endless Failures’

“I’m disgusted by the endless failures of the incompetent Biden administration. Arizonans need a warfighter to address corruption in Washington. We also need a political outsider. I am a faith-oriented family man with business experience and a proven commitment to service,” Crane told The Epoch Times.

Armed with an “America First” agenda, Crane said his priorities include closing the southern border to “stop the invasion,” restoring election integrity, and “winning the culture war” while “fighting for fiscal sanity.”

“When I got out of the Navy, I thought I was done fighting. At this fulcrum point in history, America needs men and women of courage and character to help save this country that we love,” he said.

In U.S. House District 4, incumbent Democrat Greg Stanton is running unopposed. The Republican candidates include Kelly Cooper, Jerone Davison, David Giles, Rene Lopez, and Tanya Contreras Wheeless.

International businessman David Giles said he believes he is the strongest conservative candidate to represent the GOP in Congress.

“My congressman and my pastor encouraged me to run. My faith and patriotism instilled in me by my parents are paramount in my dedication to America,” Giles told The Epoch Times.

Giles said that “government overreach” has produced the current national debt, a weak economy, and a border crisis.

“I will support and defend the Constitution,” Giles said. “I will not support what is not in the Constitution. Our laws are made in Congress, approved by the Senate, and signed into law by the president. The Supreme Court or the president does not make the law.”

Protecting the ‘American Dream’

As a lawyer, small business owner, and sports executive with the Phoenix Suns, Wheeless is running for U.S. House to “protect the American Dream.”

“My nana legally immigrated from Mexico for a shot at a better life. I began working at the age of 14 and became the first in my family to graduate from college. And now, I’m running for Congress. This is the American dream, but it only exists with a strong economy, safe communities, and freedom,” Wheeless told The Epoch Times.

“In Congress, I will fight to get our economy back on track by reducing spending, decreasing taxes, and opposing needless regulation. I will work to secure our border and am proud to be endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council. I will always back the blue and support our military.”

In a three-way race for U.S. House District 6, Avery Anderson will face Kirsten Engel and Daniel Hernandez for the Democratic Party nomination in the primary election.

The Republicans include Juan Ciscomani, Lucretia Free, Brandon Martin, Young Mayberry, Kathleen Winn, and Jordan Flayer.

Former U.S. Air Force Col. Young Mayberry said he joined the race because “I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch while our country unravels because of the Biden administration’s policies and actions.”

Mayberry said he believes in the right to private property, border security, a robust national defense, gun ownership, and limited government.

“We all watched in horror as the Biden administration left Americans and $84B[illion] of prime military equipment behind in Afghanistan. We see top U.S. officials openly embrace Marxist ideologies.

“We see hordes of illegal aliens invading our southern border! These were motivating factors that got me into this race because I have the experience and skills to combat this nonsense,” Mayberry told The Epoch Times.

America First

As an America First candidate, Martin was President Trump’s choice as the 2020 Republican nominee for Arizona Congressional District 2, where he received 170,975 votes. He is now running in the newly redistricted Congressional District 6.

Saying the U.S. Constitution is “the cornerstone” of all his position, Martin said the federal government has “stripped away many of our liberties at an alarming rate over the last 100 years.”

“The right to bear arms, to privacy, a speedy and fair trial, equality under the law and the right to protection from illegal search and seizures. We must protect the Bill of Rights and remind Washington that the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Martin said on his website.

Lucretia Free was one of the first marketing directors for large corporate law firms who created The Vail Voice in Tucson. She also founded the grassroots citizens group South East Regional Council to solve “hot spot issues” of concern.

“This experience indicates that I know how to connect with people at all organizational levels, have the skills and experience to start something that has not existed before, and know how to hit the ground running,” Free told The Epoch Times.

“This experience matters during these challenging times. Things don’t seem normal. Inflation is higher than it has been in the past 40 years. The high cost of food and fuel is crushing family budgets. Crime is rampant in our cities, and our border is in crisis. I will work hard for Southern Arizonans on these issues.”

Invasion of Southern Border

Kathleen Winn is an at-large member of the Maricopa County Community College District in Arizona, a position held since 2019.

With an open congressional seat in District 6, Winn sees an opportunity to regain a majority in the U.S. House.

As the executive director of a non-profit against sex trafficking and child exploitation, Winn sees the “current invasion” at Arizona’s southern border as a “direct attack” on American families.

“Having worked in the Arizona Attorney General’s office and directly with law enforcement and the military, it is my personal goal to secure the border, preserve our 2nd Amendment, fight inflation and make us energy independent,” Winn told The Epoch Times.

To that end, Winn said she has drafted legislation and has a “proven track record of strategic problem-solving.”

“Preserving the Founding Fathers’ vision and restoring order is my highest priority,” she said.

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Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.

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