Arizona 2nd District
Beyond the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, much of Arizona looks as it did a century ago. Some is intentionally preserved in its natural state, such as the sere uplands of the Hopi Indian Reservation. Other places maintain a timeless Western look, like Wickenburg, the oldest Arizona town north of Tucson. Still others preserve antiquated ways of life, such as the polygamist community of Colorado City, just south of Utah. In some cases, nature and settlement juxtapose jarringly: The real London Bridge has been transplanted to Lake Havasu City, a retirement community on the Colorado River.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
All of these areas are part of the 2nd Congressional District of Arizona, which stretches from the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead in the northwest corner of the state to the western suburbs of Phoenix, where 80% of its voters live. Astride Grand Avenue, the only diagonal street in the rigorous grid of metro Phoenix, is the mushrooming suburb of Glendale, not so long ago just a crossroads but now home to 253,000. The Phoenix Coyotes hockey stadium went up in Glendale in 2003, followed in 2006 by the University of Phoenix Stadium, where Super Bowl XLII was played in February 2008, and a new baseball facility where the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox set up spring training in 2009. The nearby Westgate City Center is now one of several edge cities in Phoenix’s Valley of the Sun. Just west in the former desert are Peoria, as Middle American as its namesake in Illinois, and the huge retirement community of Sun City, started in the 1950s. This had been a growth area, but the mid-2000s housing boom was followed by a bust, with median housing values in the Phoenix area down 33% from October 2007 to October 2008.
The 2nd District also includes the fast-growing corridor along the Interstate 10 Papago Freeway, taking in Luke Air Force Base, which has the largest fighter training wing in the Air Force and the only active-duty F-16 training base in the United States. It extends to the once-open spaces of Goodyear and Buckeye and Mohave County, with its growing Las Vegas suburbs, and the Hopi Indian Reservation, connected to the rest of the district by a narrow, oddly shaped corridor that runs along the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
This is Republican territory. The retirees here remember the culturally conservative, Ozzie-and-Harriet lifestyle of the 1950s, and the upwardly striving, family-oriented young migrants who have populated new towns in the desert are trying to replicate it. Culture, more than affluence, which by national standards is not all that striking here, accounts for their political conservatism. Republicans also dominate the new cities along the Colorado River.