Rep. John Shadegg (R)
Elected: 1994, 8th term.
Born: Oct. 22, 1949, Phoenix .
Education: U. of AZ, B.A. 1972, J.D. 1975.
Family: Married (Shirley); 2 children.
Military career: Air Natl. Guard, 1969–75.
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1975–94; U.S. spec. asst. atty. gen., 1983–90; Spec. cnsl., AZ House Republican Caucus, 1991–92; Cnsl., AZ Wildlife Conservation, 1992.
The congressman from the 3d District is John Shadegg, first elected in 1994, with a fine Arizona Republican pedigree. His father, Stephen Shadegg, managed Barry Goldwater’s first campaign for the Senate in 1952, when Goldwater upset Democrat Ernest McFarland, the Senate majority leader. In those days before faxes and e-mail, the older Shadegg helped deliver campaign press releases. The younger Shadegg is a lawyer who served as special assistant to the state attorney general and as a special counsel to the Arizona House Republican caucus. When then-Rep. Jon Kyl ran for the Senate in 1994, Shadegg ran for his House seat and won 43% in the GOP primary, to 30% for Trent Franks (now the 2nd District representative). Shadegg won the general election easily, 60%-36%.
|John Shadegg (R)||148,800||(54%)||($2,911,880)|
|Bob Lord (D)||115,759||(42%)||($1,813,648)|
|Michael Shoen (Lib)||10,602||(4%)|
|John Shadegg (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (59%), 2004 (80%), 2002 (67%), 2000 (64%), 1998 (65%), 1996 (67%), 1994 (60%)
In the House, Shadegg has been a consistent conservative who has stuck to principle. As one of the firebrand 1994 Republican freshmen, he held firm against President Clinton’s policies and often rebelled against his own party’s leadership. He refused to back the balanced-budget amendment without a three-fifths supermajority for tax increases, in defiance of Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia. When he chaired the House Republican Study Committee in 2001 and 2002, Shadegg agreed to support the annual budget resolution but insisted, with occasional success, that free-spending appropriators comply with budget limits. He voted against President Bush’s No Child Left Behind education act in 2001 though it was a signature bill for the new Republican president. His independence cost him a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in 1997. But he got a seat on also influential Energy and Commerce Committee, where, at the direction of GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois, he often worked on health care policy. In 2003, Shadegg was one of only two Republicans serving on the committee who refused to support the Republicans’ Medicare prescription drug bill. The energy bill enacted in 2005 reflected Shadegg’s efforts to promote hydroelectric power.
In January 2005, Shadegg ran unopposed to replace Rep. Christopher Cox of California as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. Both wings of the party praised him as open to ideas, and he organized a series of “unity dinners” to try to find common ground on immigration legislation. In January 2006, he gave up that post to run for majority leader after Texas Rep. Tom DeLay was forced to step down amid an ethics and fundraising scandal. Shadegg finished a distant third to Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt and Ohio Rep. John Boehner, with 40 votes, and withdrew after the first ballot. His candidacy may have prevented a first-ballot win by Blunt, and most of his supporters went to Boehner, who won the contest. In November 2006, he ran against Blunt for minority whip in what was widely expected to be a close contest. But Shadegg lost, 137-57. In contrast to other contenders, he did not actively raise money for GOP candidates, which is one of the best ways to curry favor in a leadership contest.
After leaving the leadership, Shadegg said he had no regrets about losing his seat at the table and returning to his role as a reformer. In March 2007, he criticized fellow lawmakers for including pork-barrel projects in the Iraq war spending bill. He opposed the Republican-backed immigration bill, but favored a stand-alone agricultural guest-worker law. He voted against the January 2008 economic stimulus bill sent to Congress by the Bush administration. When Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California adjourned the House in August 2008 without allowing a vote on opening up more coastal areas to offshore oil drilling, Shadegg led Republican members into the empty chamber, where they spoke for days urging Pelosi to call a vote, a tactic Shadegg called “a modern-day Boston Tea Party.” He voted against the $700 billion bailout for the financial markets on Sept. 29, 2008, but after new provisions were added, including a higher limit on Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance and relaxation of market-to-market rules, voted for the bill. Later in October, he accused Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson of trying to bully Congress into passing the bill with little time for review. He has been an outspoken critic of earmarks and has sought none for his district.
Shadegg has exercised his independence at home, too. In 2004, he opposed a tax increase for Phoenix-area transportation (which passed anyway), but he supported higher taxes on business to pay for full-day kindergarten for Arizona children. In 2008, he supported Proposition 101, which protected a citizen’s right to choose any health insurance.
From 1996 to 2004, Shadegg won re-election every two years with at least 64% of the vote against weak opponents. Then in 2006, he won by only 59%-38% against Democrat Herb Paine, a former United Way executive. During that campaign, he warned that his party was no longer aggressive enough and risked losing its majority. He cited the failure to strip pension rights from lawmakers convicted of crimes and its reluctance to overhaul the rules for Indian gambling facilities to prevent further abuses after the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal ensnared several high-ranking GOP lawmakers.
On Feb. 11, 2008, Shadegg announced he would not run for re-election. But 145 Republican congressional colleagues and 33 leaders of conservative organizations signed petitions urging him to reconsider—an unusual outpouring of support for a rank-and-file lawmaker. A few days later, he reversed his decision and decided to run again. Democratic lawyer Bob Lord had started campaigning for the seat in April 2007, and by the summer before the election had raised $1.1 million. Inspired by the defeat of conservative Rep. J. D. Hayworth in the neighboring 5th District in 2006, national Democrats targeted the seat. Lord ultimately raised $1.5 million, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put in another $1.8 million. They ran ads picturing Shadegg morphing into by-then-unpopular President Bush, and Lord’s own ads accused Shadegg of voting for a congressional pay raise while voting against a pay raise for U.S. troops fighting in Iraq. Shadegg won 54%-42%, a solid victory but his lowest re-election numbers to date.