Arizona 5th District
As metropolitan Phoenix has expanded in the Valley of the Sun, it has absorbed the crossroads towns that were separate and distinct 50 years ago. Two such towns are Tempe and Scottsdale. Tempe is east of downtown Phoenix, south of the Arizona Canal. It was founded in 1871 as Hayden’s Ferry, by the father of the future Democratic Sen. Carl Hayden (1927-1969), and was renamed in 1879 for an ancient Greek vale. The old town centered on Arizona State University, and both the town and the university have expanded greatly. The university sits astride a rise with a fine view of much of metropolitan Phoenix. Tempe is relatively affluent and still growing, with 174,000 people in 2007, up from 7,600 in 1950. It has eight stations along Phoenix’s new 20-mile light-rail system and new high-rises in its downtown. Scottsdale is east of the affluent part of Phoenix and north of Tempe and the Salt River Indian Reservation; it encompasses Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, which was beyond the reach of electricity and telephone lines when it was built in the 1940s. Scottsdale features luxury shopping malls and resorts, lots of nightlife, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and the WestWorld equestrian center. Local politicians argue over whether Scottsdale should keep marketing itself as a Western town or emphasize its new live-work downtown. It had 236,000 people in 2007, compared to 2,000 in the 1950 census.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 5th Congressional District of Arizona includes Tempe, Scottsdale, and the northeast corner of Maricopa County—Fountain Hills, the Salt River and Fort McDowell Indian Reservations, and part of the Tonto National Forest. Politically, this has been a Republican district, though less so than a dozen years ago. The 5th has the highest percentage of college graduates and high-income households of any district in Arizona, and some affluent people here, like those on both coasts, have been attracted to the Democrats by their stands on cultural issues. This was the only Arizona district to vote for Barack Obama over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary.