Arizona Republican David Schweikert Is the Villain in Elijah Norton’s New Comic

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There’s a new villain in town, and he’s terrorizing the people of Arizona.

At least that’s the case according to new campaign literature from Elijah Norton, a Scottsdale political newcomer and entrepreneur seeking to unseat U.S. Representative David Schweikert in this year’s Republican primary.

During election season, Arizona voters expect unsolicited phone calls, emails and canvassers at their doorsteps. However, they might not expect a political comic to arrive in the mail with credit card bills and packages from Amazon.

But if you live in Arizona’s new First Congressional District, which encompasses parts of North Phoenix and North Scottsdale, Cave Creek and Fountain Hills, chances are your postal carrier will deliver this product soon. policy in your mailbox.

Nearly one in three households in the reliable Republican neighborhood will receive a comic book in the mail from Norton’s campaign this week.

As in Superman Where x-men, this graphic depicts the relationships of a supervillain. But it’s not Lex Luthor or Magneto. It’s Shady Schweikert, a faded caricature of the incumbent congressman wearing an orange jumpsuit and baby blue beanie.

Through six pages of sequential storytelling, Shady Schweikert accepts illegal campaign contributions and takes out a fake loan, wasting money on first-class flights, Super Bowl tickets, and fancy dinners.

He is ridiculed by prominent Democrats and Republicans, including the rest of the Arizona Republican congressional delegation: Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and Debbie Lesko. Then the cartoon shows him thrown into a prison cell. Meanwhile, a starry Uncle Sam slowly changes his opinion of the Sixth Congressman from skeptical naivety to outright disdain, eventually deeming the miscreant “corrupt”.

“They’re hanging on to straws,” said Schweikert political consultant Chris Baker. Phoenix New Times. “You would expect nothing less than a comedic out of a candidate joke and a campaign joke. It really is about a fool and his money.

The comic’s plot centers on the scandals of Schweikert’s 30-year career as a legislator. He is portrayed as a criminal, but he was never convicted of a crime.

“Elijah Norton has already shown he can’t be honest with voters and this is just another example,” Baker said. “We are confident that voters will see Norton for who he is.”

Norton would like you to think otherwise.

“David Schweikert’s crimes are very serious, but admittedly a little dry for voters who lead busy lives,” said Brian Seitchik, Norton’s political consultant. new times. “We wanted to create something that would depict how he deceived taxpayers, citizens and donors in an easily digestible way.”

The Arizona House Ethics Committee reprimanded Schweikert for a number of campaign finance violations in 2020. In February, he agreed to pay a $125,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission, resulting from a campaign finance mistake nearly a decade ago. It’s not a crime, but that’s not how Norton sees it.

“The only federal building where Shady Schweikert should be allowed is a federal penitentiary,” Seitchik said.

The creative but splashy jab at Norton’s political opponent raises the question of whether it represents a smart campaign or a self-defeating candidacy.

It depends who you ask.

“Voters are inundated with our campaign across a variety of mediums. We wanted to provide something that would make it easier to track David’s multitude of crimes,” Seitchik said. “We thought a comic book would be the right way to do it.”

According to the incumbent Fountain Hills Republican, it’s a last-ditch effort to undermine a campaign in which political analysts say Schweikert is a heavy frontrunner.

According to figures from the Federal Election Commission, Norton has raised more than $3.5 million for his candidacy this year – including $2 million from his own coffers – while incumbent Schweikert has raised just over $1 million largely from his supporters. .

Self-financiers have a long history of flaming in Arizona, including: Jim Pederson, who lost his bid for the US Senate in 2006; Buz Mills, who ran in the Republican primary during the 2010 Arizona gubernatorial race; and Republican Steve Gaynor, who lost his bid for Arizona secretary of state to Katie Hobbs in 2018.

“There’s a reason that self-financiers almost always lose,” Baker said. “I’m not surprised that a petulant rich little kid thinks he can buy an election. They think they can make wild accusations and voters will buy it. It will not work.

Seitchik, a longtime adviser and state executive for Arizona under former President Donald Trump, thinks there is a place in power for self-funders. He has strategized for other financially independent candidates in the past like Gary Podesto, the former mayor of Stockton, Calif.

“Thirty years of politics, 10 years of congress, $1.5 million in legal fees, $175,000 in fines, and all Shady Schweikert and his buddies can do is throw mud,” Seitchik said. ” Typical.

Norton’s campaign did not publicly disclose the number of comics in print, but Seitchik said it was “in the tens of thousands”.

He was also unwilling to share who designed the neon strips, but said that after watching multiple artists, “we felt the person who did this was able to capture the essence of what we were looking for.”

The playful art looks cute and harmless, but lays serious charges against Schweikert as the two GOP candidates continue to shoot each other.

A Norton-founded car warranty company sued a super PAC for defamation on Sunday and sent Schweikert a cease-and-desist letter on a website that mocks the insurance manager and calls him a “scam artist.” “. new times first reported on Thursday.

Now he’s hitting back with the comic – “The Misadventures of Shady Schweikert.” Norton also released an accompanying video ad that permeated popular TV stations, YouTube and streaming services this week, encouraging voters to call his campaign office and claim a free copy of the comic.

Seitchik says the comic has been well received by current and future voters. It’s not just an advertising campaign, it’s also educational entertainment for children, he says.

“The kids enjoyed reading the comic and couldn’t believe their congressman committed these crimes. David is an embarrassment and an absolute shanda, frankly,” Seitchik said, using the Yiddish word for a disgrace.

Seitchik also refrained from sharing the cost of the comics, which were printed last week, citing “strategic objectives”. This information will become public with the next round of FEC filings next month.

Norton’s campaign first coined the nickname Shady Schweikert in an October television ad, where the incumbent was called “the most corrupt politician in Arizona history.”

On the last page of the new comic, readers are asked to send a fake coupon for “x-ray specs” that “see through your congressman” to Schweikert’s Scottsdale office on Northsight Boulevard.

This crusade of name-calling is not working, says Schweikert.

“The Schweikert campaign thinks voters are smart, and the Norton campaign and its consultant thinks voters are dumb,” Baker said. “Our voters are not stupid.

Norton will face Schweikert in the August 2 Republican primaries.


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