Arizona 4th District
Phoenix is a relatively new American metropolis; it’s grown to big-city size just in the past generation. Yet it is also an ancient city, or built on top of one. The Arizona Canal, several miles north of downtown Phoenix, runs along the route of a canal built about 600 years ago by the Hohokam aboriginal people. They distributed irrigated water diverted from the Salt River in its wet moments to farmers in what today is called the Valley of the Sun, and they made sophisticated astronomical observations from the mountains that jut up from the plains. This society disappeared for reasons unknown less than half a century before the Spaniards arrived in North America. So today’s Phoenix is the second civilization to prosper in this desert region. Phoenix and Maricopa County had 331,000 people in 1950 and more than 4 million by 2008. Half a century ago, Phoenix spread six miles north, west, and east of the downtown and only a few miles south. Downtown was its only office district and its main shopping area, and people blew fans over boxes of ice to cool off. Today, the view from downtown Phoenix’s office towers seems to stretch as far as the eye can see, toward groupings of other office towers to the north, northeast, and northwest.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 4th Congressional District of Arizona is centered in downtown Phoenix and is based entirely in Maricopa County. It covers the capitol, in a rundown neighborhood a couple of miles to the west, and busy Sky Harbor International Airport, situated in an industrial corridor several miles east. It includes most of southern Phoenix, and its boundaries follow approximately the southern and western city limits. It extends as far north as Bethany Home Road and Northern Avenue. It stretches south into Guadalupe and northwest into Glendale. Geographically, it covers most of the land between South Mountain and Camelback Mountain. The district is one of Arizona’s two Hispanic districts; its population by the mid-2000s was 69% Hispanic. Most are Mexican, but there has been an influx of Guatemalans. The typical Latino neighborhood here is a collection of 1940s and 1950s bungalows. Habitat for Humanity built South Ranch, its largest low-income subdivision, in the district, with the idea of clustering poor homeowners together and encouraging them to stave off neighborhood decline collectively. Politically, this is a solidly Democratic district, the most Democratic in Arizona.