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Schweikert has nine challengers in Congressional District 1

Posted 4/12/24



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Schweikert has nine challengers in Congressional District 1


Incumbent Arizona Congressional District No. 1 Rep. David Schweikert and nine challengers will be on the ballot for the July 30 primaries.

Only one Libertarian is running. However, Schweikert is being challenged by two fellow Republicans for his party’s nomination, who hope to end Schweikert’s now 14-year tenure in Congress.

District 1 includes the northeast parts of the Valley, including parts of northeast Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, Carefree, and Fountain Hills. It’s the wealthiest congressional district in Arizona.

Six Democratic candidates are vying for that party’s nomination, with only one advancing to the November general election.

In 2022, Schweikert only beat Democratic challenger Jevin Hodge by 3,195 votes.

Robert Backie, Republican Party

Robert Backie is an Indiana native who earned a bachelor’s in computer science business administration in 1990 from Trinity International University in Illinois.

Backie moved to Arizona in 1994 and then to Paradise Valley in 1999 to raise his children.

Backie said he has more than 30 years of experience leading global teams and businesses in semiconductor, internet, telecom, cyber security and healthcare, including teams in Asia, Europe, Middle East, Canada and Mexico.

His current listed role is national sales director for the CRH O’Regan System of CRH Medical Corp. For almost two years, he was the operations and sales director for AdviNOW Medical.

Backie has served with the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council, or ATIC, #yesPHX startup community and has mentored new startup businesses through the Arizona Commerce Authorities Venture Ready program.

As the elected chair of ATIC, Backie attended Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1353 to expand medical care to include telemedicine.
Backie also has served on the Tech Council’s cloud compute committee.

He has also worked on issues in his neighborhood, Congressional campaigns and is currently on the Town of Paradise Valley Car Show and Arizona Concours d’Elegance committees.

Andrei Cherny, Democratic Party

Andrei Cherny was born and raised in Los Angeles. His parents were Czechoslovak Jewish immigrants who initially spoke little English.
Cherny graduated with honors from Harvard College. He was a writer for the newspaper The Harvard Crimson.

He received his law degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law.
President Bill Clinton hired Cherny, at age 21, to work on his staff.
Cherny co-founded Democracy, a public policy journal.

Cherny was the chief drafter of the 2000 Democratic Party platform and was a speechwriter for the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign.

From 2006 to 2009, Cherny served as a criminal prosecutor and Arizona Assistant Attorney General. He served as the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party in 2011 and 2012.

Cherny has written at least two books.

He co-founded Aspiration, Inc., an eco-conscious financial firm in Marina del Rey, Calif., and was its CEO from 2013 to October 2022.
Cherny was an officer in the Navy Reserve.

This is Cherny’s second run for Congress. In 2012, he lost the Democratic primary for Arizona’s 9th Congressional district to Kyrsten Sinema.

Marlene Galán-Woods, Democratic

Marlene Galán-Woods is from Tampa, Fla. She is the widow of former Arizona Attorney General and activist Grant Woods.
Galán-Woods says she’s a 35-year Arizona resident.

She was a 20-year broadcast journalist and mother of five children. Her parents fled communist Cuba looking for a better life for their children.

The Woods founded the Mesa Arts Academy within the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley. Galán-Woods has served as president of a school board.

She helped organize a local tennis tournament that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a children’s charity.

Galán-Woods helped found the Phoenix Children’s Museum.

Galán-Woods is running for federal office for the first time.

Kim George, Republican

Kim George retired after a 23-year career as an FBI special agent.
George served in field offices in San Diego, New York, Washington, D.C. and Phoenix.

Her career with the FBI included extensive experience in both sensitive operations and investigatory work in areas including crimes against children, public corruption and elections fraud, organized crime, and counterintelligence.

After retiring George worked as a senior insider-risk and global security operations investigator for two Fortune 500 companies. It was among her responsibilities to prevent theft of intellectual property by hostile actors and/or people who were spying.

George lives in Scottsdale, with her husband of 16 years, Mark. They are active in their church, where George serves with the Troop Care Ministry.

George’s website lists many priorities, including reforming and rebuilding trust in U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI, rooting out corruption in our justice system, restoring critical supply chains, manufacturing and pharmaceutical production and securing Arizona’s water supply.

Andrew Horne, Democratic

Andrew Horne is an Arizona native and an orthodontist who was born in Scottsdale.

Growing up, he attended Kiva, Mohave, and Saguaro schools in the Scottsdale Unified School District. Horne was also an Eagle Scout.

Horne has a bachelor's of science in economics from Arizona State University, a master's of sciences from the University of Colorado and a doctorate and MBA from the University of Michigan.

Horne initially opened his own private practice in Colorado Springs but decided to move back to the valley so that his daughter could attend SUSD schools and would grow up with four grandparents nearby.

He has founded two small businesses that he says continue to grow. One involves freelance photography.

Horne is running for office for the first time. He has supported David Ortega’s efforts in running for Scottsdale mayor.

Horne says he is not related to Tom Horne, the current Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Kurt Kroemer, Democratic

Kurt Kroemer is a corporate and nonprofit executive.
Kroemer has a bachelor of arts in political science and history from Binghamton University and a master’s from American University.

Kroemer has held several executive positions with the American Red Cross. These include regional CEO for the Arizona / New Mexico/ El Paso region.

He was also the CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.
While this is the first office Kroemer has sought in Arizona, he has served on a city council before, in Bowie, Md.

Kroemer said at Make-A-Wish, he oversaw a $250-million annual budget.

Kroeger says he also spent 11 years working for Congress as an investigator, holding a top-secret clearance, while working on national security and public health issues.

He says he also served as the COO for an organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking and genocides.

Michelle Martin, Libertarian Party

No photo or information could be found on this candidate.

Conor O’Callaghan, Democratic

Conor O’Callaghan was born in Ireland, with his family moving to Arizona when he was a small child. He grew up in Scottsdale, attending public schools and graduating from Chaparral High School.

O’Callaghan earned B.S. in economics, a B.A.S. and a master’s degree in public administration University of Pennsylvania schools. He also earned his law degree from Fordham Law School.

O’Callaghan says he has about two decades in Wall Street business. He was a vice president at Barclays for a short time.

O’Callaghan’s wife, Tina, was a child immigrant as well. Her family fled Iran during that country’s revolution when she was age 2.

O’Callaghan is the managing director at BTIG, a San Francisco-based global financial services firm.

One of O’Callaghan’s grandfathers served as a United Nations general.

He said his father helped veterans and the medically underserved, serving as a state commissioner under Arizona Gov. Rose Mofford.

David Schweikert, Republican

David Schweikert has served a Northeast Valley district in Congress since he was first elected in 2010.

Born in Los Angeles and raised by the Scottsdale family that adopted him, Schweikert graduated from Saguaro High School in 1980, then earned a bachelor’s in finance and real estate and an MBA from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

Schweikert served two terms in the Arizona House of Representatives in the early 1990s, ran for Congress and lost the primary to J. D. Hayworth in 1994, and chaired the state Board of Equalization for almost 10 years.

Schweikert was the elected Maricopa County Treasurer from 2004 to 2007. He ran for Congress again in 2008, losing in the general election to incumbent Harry Mitchell before finally beating Mitchell and getting elected in 2010.

Schweikert has been involved in several close races, especially in recent years, in his district, which had its number changed after both the 2010 and 2020 U.S. Census.

Amish Shah, Democratic

Amish Shah was born and raised in the Chicago area. His mother and father were engineering students who immigrated from India in the 1960s. His father is Jain and his mother is Hindu; Shah attended Catholic school grades K-12.

After earning a B.A. in economics in 1997 and an M.D. from Northwestern University in 2001, he received a masters in public health from the University of California at Berkeley in 2003.

His career experience includes working as an attending physician with Mayo Clinic, Dignity Health, and IASIS Healthcare; the chief medical officer of Urgent Consult and as an airway management physician with the New York Jets.

Outside of his medical practice, he founded the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival as a philanthropic endeavor to promote healthy eating and eliminate preventable diseases.

Shah served in the Arizona House from 2019 until January of this year. He announced in April 2023 that he was going to pursue the Congressional District 1 seat.

Shah announced in February that he was resigning from his House seat to focus on his run for Congress, with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors replacing him with Charles Lucking.

We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments on this topic.  Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.  Email Jason W. Brooks at jbrooks@iniusa.org