Harry Mitchell

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Harry Mitchell
Harry Mitchell, official 110th Congress photo portrait, color.JPG
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 5th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by J. D. Hayworth
Succeeded by David Schweikert
Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party
In office
2006
Preceded by Jim Pederson
Succeeded by David Waid
30th Mayor of Tempe, Arizona
In office
1978–1994
Preceded by William J. LoPiano
Succeeded by Neil Giuliano
Personal details
Born (1940-07-18) July 18, 1940 (age 73)
Phoenix, Arizona
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marianne Mitchell
Residence Tempe, Arizona
Alma mater Arizona State University
Occupation High school teacher
Religion Roman Catholic

Harry E. Mitchell (born July 18, 1940) is a former U.S. Representative who represented Arizona's 5th congressional district from 2007 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Born and raised in Tempe, Arizona, Mitchell earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Arizona State University in 1962. He later earned a Master of Public Administration degree from ASU in 1980.

He was a teacher at Tempe High School, his high school alma mater. He was also a professor; a member of the Tempe city council, 1970-1978; Mayor of Tempe, 1978-1994; a member of the Arizona senate, 1999-2006; and Arizona Democratic Party chairman, 2006-2006. He was elected as a Democrat to the 110th and 111th Congress (January 3, 2007 - January 3, 2011). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the 112th Congress in 2010.[1]

Early political career[edit]

In 1970, Harry Mitchell sought and won a seat on the elected-at-large Tempe City Council. Re-elected in 1974, Mitchell ran for Mayor of Tempe in 1978, gaining a majority of votes cast in the primary and avoiding a runoff. He went on to win every subsequent election for Mayor in landslides until his retirement in 1994. A large statue of Mitchell stands just off Mill Avenue, next to City Hall and the other buildings comprising the Harry E. Mitchell Municipal Complex.

After retiring in 1994, Mitchell sought the Arizona Democratic Party's nomination for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, a constitutionally mandated statewide-elected official charged with the management of Arizona's public schools. Mitchell narrowly lost in the primary — he attributes his only election loss to his inexperience in partisan races — and his opponent went on to lose the general election.

Four years later, however, Mitchell sought and won a seat in the Arizona Senate, representing Tempe and parts of southern Scottsdale. Even though his district was considered a "swing" district, Mitchell managed to win with clear majorities in each successive election. He has run under Arizona's Clean Elections law each legislative race, which provides public financing to statewide and legislative candidates as long as the candidates abide to certain restrictions and qualifications.

Facing term limits, Mitchell ran his last campaign for Arizona Senate in 2004. One year later, with the 2006 midterm elections approaching, Mitchell ran unopposed for chair of the Arizona Democratic Party after chairman Jim Pederson stepped down to run for the United States Senate. He was elected on August 20, 2005.

Mitchell oversaw much of the early ground work as the Arizona Democratic Party prepared for statewide elections on November 7, 2006. The Democrats recaptured the Tucson city council from years of Republican control on February 1, 2006.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Mitchell was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition who emphasize bipartisanship and cooperation with members of other parties. His voting record has been described as blue dog[2] and centrist.[3] He has voted for legislation largely supported by Democrats in Congress, such as the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Although he expressed reservations about many of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,[4] he ultimately voted for it. Stating it was a "matter of principle," he declined coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program in favor of Medicare.[4] He voted for the 2009 stimulus plan[5] and has also stated he supports extending the Bush tax cuts.[6]

Political campaigns[edit]

2006[edit]

Mitchell was head of the Arizona Democratic Party when a poll, sponsored by the Arizona Democratic Party and the DCCC, was leaked; the poll showed Republican J.D. Hayworth would be in a tight race against any of a handful of Democratic opponents; the district was rated "Toss-Up" by the Cook Political Report. Mitchell was pressured by several Arizona politicians and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, then head of the DCCC, to enter the race against Hayworth.

Mitchell stepped down as the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party on April 7. He entered the race on April 10 and raised a total of $213,209 for his campaign in less than two weeks.

By of the end of June 2006, Mitchell had nearly $700,000 on hand. An October 16 SurveyUSA poll showed Hayworth leading Mitchell by only 48% to 45%. On October 27, 2006, the Arizona Republic departed from its past endorsements of Hayworth and instead endorsed Mitchell. The polls demonstrated a slow, but deliberate, growth in the strength of Mitchell's popularity over the next few weeks.

On the evening of November 7, election day, most national and state news media outlets declared Mitchell the winner. However, Hayworth refused to concede, citing the significant number of absentee and early-voting ballots to be counted. As the ballots were counted and the results were updated each day, Hayworth never demonstrated the significant gains he anticipated and ending up losing the election by more than 8,000 votes. Hayworth conceded on November 14. Mitchell did not acknowledge his victory until November 22.

2008[edit]

Mitchell was reelected in 2008 with 53% of the popular vote over his Republican challenger, David Schweikert.

2010[edit]

Mitchell lost his bid for reelection to Republican nominee David Schweikert.

This district has traditionally leaned Republican (R+5 according to analyst Charlie Cook). Thus, according to many analysts, Mitchell faced a difficult reelection campaign. Considering that his district was won by Bush in '04, but not Obama in '08, CQ Politics rated his district as tossup. Sarah Palin had also set a goal of replacing Mitchell with a "common sense conservative."[7]

2012[edit]

Mitchell was considered a possible candidate for the U.S. House in 2012, in the new 9th congressional district, but decided against running.[8]

Electoral history[edit]

Arizona's 5th congressional district: 2006 - 2010 results[9]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2006 Harry Mitchell 101,838 50.41% J.D. Hayworth* 93,815 46.44% Warren Severin Libertarian 6,357 3.15%
2008 Harry Mitchell* 149,033 53.16% David Schweikert 122,165 43.57% Warren Severin Libertarian 9,158 3.27%
2010 Harry Mitchell* 91,749 43.23% David Schweikert 110,374 52.00% Nick Coons Libertarian 10,127 4.77%

Personal life[edit]

Mitchell and his wife, Marianne, have been married for over forty five years. They have two children, one of whom, Mark Mitchell, currently serves as Mayor of Tempe. Other politically active members of the his family have included Harry Mitchell's brother, Robert Mitchell, who served as mayor and council member of Casa Grande, and his grandfather, W.W. Mitchell, who served as a state legislator.

References[edit]

  1. ^ MITCHELL, Harry E. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  2. ^ "Democratic 'Centrists' Want All Rich-People Tax Cuts Extended". Retrieved 23 Sep 2010. 
  3. ^ "Harry Mitchell". Retrieved 23 Sep 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "You asked, so Mitchell gives his health views". September 2009. Retrieved 23 Sep 2010. 
  5. ^ Lightman, David. "The biggest obstacle in Obama's path: Congress (who else?)". Retrieved 23 Sep 2010. 
  6. ^ Sargent, Greg (9 Sep 2010). "More House Dems balking at ending Bush tax cuts for rich". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 Sep 2010. 
  7. ^ Sheridan, Michael (2010-03-24). "Sarah Palin aims to 'Take Back the 20!' in wake of Dems' health care victory". New York: Nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  8. ^ Taylor, Jessica (October 5, 2011). "House Democrats Gain With New Arizona Map". National Journal. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Maricopa County Recorder. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
J.D. Hayworth
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 5th congressional district

2007–2011
Succeeded by
David Schweikert