Close race in the changing CD6 district

Posted at 6:34 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 22:26:41-04

PHOENIX — While the presidential and Senate races seem to get most of the attention, there's a surprise Congressional election going on in the Northeast Valley.

It's District 6 taking in parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills.

It could be close for the first time in years.

If you think you're seeing more campaign ads for Democrat Hiral Tipirneni than for incumbent Congressman David Schweikert, the reason may be simple.

Tipirneni's campaign took in $5.3 million so far, much more than any other Arizona Congressional candidate. And it's more than double Schweikert's $2 million.

ASU Politics Senior Lecturer Gina Woodall says that's important.

"More often than not, the more money a candidate raises the more successful the outcome," she says.

An OH Predictive Insights late September poll shows Tipirneni down by just 3%.

And she's actually ahead of Schweikert by 5% among college-educated voters sampled. That's important since a Census survey shows District 6 has more residents with college degrees than any other Arizona district.

It's stunning if you look at Schweiker's past races. He has won by nearly 30% since 2012. That is until last his last election in 2018 when he won by 10%.

That's still sizeable, but a change, much like the district itself.

The most recent registration numbers show Republicans still dominate. But compared to 2016, the last presidential election, state records show Democrats have gained 34,000 registered voters, compared to Republicans 23,000 and 10,000 more independents.

Woodall isn't ready to call close races the new norm.

"We'd have to see more data to say yeah, that's indicative of a pattern," she says.

And despite the polling, Woodall says incumbents win 94% of the time.

So as the campaigns are in their final stretch, and as Tipirneni's ads continue to go after Schweikert, he says he's not concerned.

"We have seen a lot of Republican enthusiasm over the last 30 days that we hadn't accounted for," he says.

Click here to find out more about the Schweikert campaign.

Click here to learn more about the Tipirneni campaign.