Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mesa Moonie Considers Congressional Bid

Arizona Rep. Anderson weighs run for Mitchell's congressional seat
by Mike Sunnucks
The Business Journal of Phoenix
August 29, 2007

State Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Mesa, is considering a challenge of freshman Democratic Congressman Harry Mitchell in next year's elections.

Anderson, who is in his seventh term in the Arizona Legislature, has formed an exploratory committee for a possible run against Mitchell.

Anderson is a Realtor and a member of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. If elected, he would be the only member of Congress to be part of the Unification Church.

The Republican lawmaker cited Congress' low approval ratings in considering a run. In the Legislature, Anderson has favored tuition and school tax credits; abstinence education programs; and removing junk food and sodas from public school vending machines.

Mitchell represents a district that includes Scottsdale, Tempe and a small portion of Mesa, where Anderson lives. The former Tempe mayor upended GOP Congressman J.D. Hayworth in last year's elections, which saw Democrats take control of Congress. Mitchell is Catholic.

Approval ratings for the Democratic Congress stand at 22 percent, according to a compilation of recent polls by RealClearPolitics.com. President Bush's cumulative approval rating is 33 percent.

Former GOP congressional staffer and lobbyist Jim Ogsbury already has announced he is running for Mitchell's seat. Other possible contenders include former state lawmaker Laura Knaperek and Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert.

The Tempe/Scottsdale district has a Republican voter registration edge. Mitchell has voted with Republicans on some issues, including renewing the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program to track suspected foreign terrorists communicating in the U.S. Mitchell also wants to preserve capital gains and federal estate tax cuts passed when the GOP controlled Congress.

Mitchell received high-profile Democratic backing during both the 2006 and current election cycles. That includes help from former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.


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