Governor helping Mitchell's House bid

The Business Journal
Monday, May 1, 2006
Mike Sunnucks

Former Tempe mayor and Democratic state senator Harry Mitchell is getting some help from Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano in his bid upend Scottsdale Congressman J.D. Hayworth.

Hayworth has been an outspoken nemesis of Napolitano and considered challenging her in this year's race for governor before deciding not to run.

Napolitano will host a fundraiser for Mitchell May 9 in Tempe. The event will also feature former state attorney general Grant Woods, noted real estate attorney Grady Gammage Jr., Democratic consultant Fred DuVal and Slade Mead.

Mead, a sports agent and former state senator, is running for state superintendent of public instruction.

Mitchell is also the former chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party. Democrats hope public disillusionment with the Iraq war and high gasoline prices, as well as Hayworth's links to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal will give them a chance in the GOP-leaning congressional district that includes Scottsdale and Tempe.

Hayworth received some campaign contributions from Abramoff and his clients but the Arizona Republican has denied any wrongdoing. Abramoff has pleaded to guilty to fraud charges.

Napolitano has also done some events with shopping center developer Jim Pederson, who is challenging Republican Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl in November.

Pederson has launched new television advertisements in recent weeks, looking to boost his name identification and hit Kyl on immigration and border security.

Kyl, who has the backing of Arizona Sen. John McCain, has been raising campaign funds and courting business and conservative voters with appearances at numerous events.

Kyl will speak before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, touting his work to repeal federal estate taxes. Estate tax opponents, including the National Federation of Independent Business and conservative such as Kyl, support a repeal, arguing such levies hurt small businesses. Pederson and Democrats oppose elimination of the estate tax, saying that would help the wealthy.

The Republican senator is also keynoting a Arizona Tax Research Association luncheon on May 31 in Phoenix. The Phoenix-based tax group is a leading advocate of cutting property taxes at the state level.