Arizona 8th District
Arizona’s first frontier was just south of today’s Tucson, where Franciscan friars built San Xavier del Bac mission in the 18th century. To the east, the late-19th-century mining towns of Tombstone and Bisbee sprang up on mountainsides, where miners dug up gold and silver and much of America’s copper. Cochise County, where Tombstone and Bisbee are located, was the most populous county when Arizona became the 48th state in 1912. Here the white man finally quashed the rebellion of the land-starved American Indian, when the Apache leader Geronimo faced the U.S. Army in 1900. In the last decade, Cochise County has been an active frontier again. After the Border Patrol reduced illegal crossings in California and Texas, Mexicans wishing to enter the United States came to Agua Prieta, just across the border from the town of Douglas. There they fan out, cross the border, and use the area’s numerous roads, mountain trails, and ranch lands to get to Tucson and Phoenix. The Border Patrol’s Tucson sector has become the most active on the border, with nearly half the total border apprehensions and illegal drugs seized in 2008. More-intensive border enforcement has resulted in decreases in these metrics since 2004, but many bodies are still found in the mountains and in the desert.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
One immigrant destination is Tucson itself, Arizona’s second metropolis. It is much smaller, more rough-hewn, and politically less conservative than Phoenix. Tucson is a high-tech city and home of the University of Arizona. It is also a tourist destination, with famed resorts. For nearly 40 years, Tucson was the political base of the brothers Udall: Stewart, a representative in the 1950s and the Interior secretary in the 1960s; and Morris, a representative for 30 years and pioneering environmentalist who retired in 1991 because of Parkinson’s disease and died in 1998. Now their sons, Tom and Mark Udall, represent New Mexico and Colorado in the Senate; a cousin, Stephen Udall, finished second in the 2002 Democratic primary in Arizona’s 1st District.
The 8th Congressional District of Arizona includes all of Tucson, except the Latino-dominated west and south sides, which are in the 7th District. The 8th also includes the eastern half of surrounding Pima County and much southeastern Arizona desert real estate: all of Cochise County, Douglas, and Sierra Vista near Fort Huachuca, which is the site of the Army Military Intelligence Center, where military interrogators are trained. It also takes in small portions of Santa Cruz and Pinal counties. Politically it is closely divided, voting narrowly for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and for John McCain in 2008.