The gloves are off in the rematch between incumbent U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) and Republican nominee David Schweikert to represent Arizona's 5th Congressional District, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills.

Schweikert's campaign has been playing tag with Mitchell's campaign signs by erecting similar signs nearby in the same colors and font, accusing Mitchell of being "Pelosi's Lap Dog," among other things.

On the other hand, Mitchell's campaign is touting a website funded by the Arizona Democratic Party that describes Schweikert as a "vulture" who snaps up foreclosed homes from people in distress and evicts them.

Neither side, however, is willing to admit that the campaign has taken a negative turn.

Brian Symes, Schweikert's director of field operations, said the anti-Mitchell campaign signs began going up last weekend. Three signs currently are being circulated, containing phrases such as "Supports Obamacare," "Union Owned" and "Hides from Voters." The one describing Mitchell as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's lapdog has been taken out of circulation for the time being, he said.

Symes said the signs conform to Phoenix laws. Putting them up has been a game of cat and mouse, he said.

"He moves it every time we put one over it," Symes said. "It's Harry Mitchell's record, and he's running from it. This is all true."

Melissa Hodgdon, Mitchell's press secretary, said the signs unintentionally may do harm to Schweikert in the minds of voters.

"I think voters know it's just a silly game," she said. "The congressman is not running away from his record. The Schweikert campaign is distorting his record."

For its part, Mitchell's side is depicting Schweikert as a heartless real estate agent more interested in making money off foreclosed homes than in helping people. Hodgdon referred to the anti-Schweikert website yourlosshisgain.com, which accuses the Republican of profiting from the purchase of foreclosures at the expense of struggling homeowners.

"The fact is he is a vulture investor that makes money from buying hundreds of foreclosed homes," Hodgdon said.

The anti-Mitchell signs are an attempt to divert focus away from Schweikert's real estate dealings, which puts neighborhoods at risk of decay and keeps home prices deflated, she said.

"It's just the Schweikert campaign trying to distract attention from his foreclosure business," Hodgdon added.

Oliver Schwab, Schweikert's campaign manager, said it's Mitchell who is trying to distract voters from his record as a "secure vote for the unions and big government liberals."

"David Schweikert uses private investment to buy homes from banks, rehabilitate them, and improve communities. What has Harry Mitchell done for our communities but waste our tax dollars?" Schwab said. "He is trying to con the voters into thinking he is not lock, stock and barrel fighting alongside Nancy Pelosi to expand government."

This is the second time the two candidates have faced each other. Mitchell successfully defended his congressional seat against Schweikert in 2008.

(5) comments

Arizona Roger

Harry Mitchell is toast. He voted for Obamacare, some of the TARP bailouts, and cardcheck. He doesn't support SB1070, which is even more popular in Arizona than it is in the rest of the country. He votes with Pelosi and the Obama administration and ignores the nonstop Tea Party protests outside his office, he doesn’t represent his Republican-leaning district. He is completely bought and paid for by the unions (http://epaper.aztrib.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=RVZULzIwMDcvMDMvMTIjQXIwMzgwMQ==&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom) epository/ml.asp?Ref=RVZULzIwMDcvMDMvMTIjQXIwMzgwMQ==&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom) Fortunately he is polling at only 44% and challenger David Schweikert is polling at a whopping 50% - really bad news for an incumbent at this point in the race. Schweikert is polling higher than most Republicans challenging Democrats around the country. With early ballots going out in the mail in less than a month, there is virtually no way Mitchell can catch up to Schweikert, there are too few undecided voters. The Democrats aren't likely to try and pour money into the race at this point to save him - http://www.espressopundit.com/2010/09/dnr.html

jesse29

I dont see how you can Mitchell went negative. He is alerting the public to what Schweikert has been doing for the last 2 years and that is taking advantage of people in foreclosure. He is making money because the economy is bad and people are losing their homes! What a slimeball. Once the voters of CD-5 know this campaign will never get off the ground!!

Carol678

I don't think David is electable. Especially with all of the foreclosure stuff coming out and the news coming out about how his company served an eviction notice to a 12 year old girl. Disgusting. http://www.yourlosshisgain.com/img/SchweikertEvictsRenter.pdf

Jeffro

@Arizona Roger- That poll was by a conservative group, the American Action Forum. CD-5 voters know better than to believe that garbage and the trash spouted by Schweikert's campaign.

David is asking the voters to elect him while he's buying their houses as a vulture investor. I don't think voters are going to like that!

Arizona Roger

Jeffro,

How is buying up foreclosed homes acting like a "vulture?" Would you prohibit investors from buying up these neglected homes and let them just sit there owned by the bank while weeds grow? David is helping improve these kinds of homes instead of letting them go to waste for years while the market has tanked. He fixes them up then rents them out in a lot better condition than if they were to just sit there owned by banks.

As for the poll, it doesn't matter that it was a conservative group, similar polls by Gallup, Time, etc. show him winning by equally large margins. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/generic_congressional_vote-901.html

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