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Arizona's 8th congressional district: Wikis

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Arizona's 8th congressional district
AZ-08.gif
Current Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D)
Area 9,057 mi²
Distribution 87.3% urban, 12.7% rural
Population (2000) 641,329
Median income $40,656
Ethnicity 73.9% White, 3% Black, 2.1% Asian, 18.2% Hispanic, 0.8% Native American, 0.1% other
Cook PVI R+4

Arizona's 8th Congressional District encompasses the extreme southeastern part of the state. It includes all of Cochise County and parts of Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties. It is currently represented by Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat and is generally considered to be a swing district.

George W. Bush received 53% of the vote in this district in 2004. Native son John McCain narrowly carried the district in 2008 with 52.37% of the vote while Barack Obama received 46.43%.

Contents

Competitiveness

This seat was in Republican hands until the election of Gabrielle Giffords in 2006. Historically, the seat has had a slight GOP lean with most of the Latino areas of Tucson contained in the neighboring 7th District. Tucson's GOP leanings are more socially liberal than its neighbor to the north Phoenix which helped Giffords in her 2006 bid over Randy Graf.

Campaign signs in the 2006 election

Voting

Election results from presidential races
Year Office Results
2008 President McCain 52 - 46%
2004 President Bush 53 - 46%
2000 President Bush 49 - 47%

Representatives

Before the 2000 census, nearly all of the territory in this district was in the 5th District.

Representative Lived Party Term Note
District created: January 3, 2003
James T. Kolbe (b. 1942) Republican January 3, 2003 - January 3, 2007 Retired
Gabrielle Giffords (b. 1970) Democratic January 3, 2007 – Current

Recent results

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2002

Party Candidate Votes  % Change
  Republican Party Jim Kolbe 112,872 63
  Democratic Party Mary Judge Ryan 60,536 34
  Libertarian Party Joe Duarte 5,520 3

2004

Party Candidate Votes  % Change
  Republican Party Jim Kolbe 183,363 60.4 -2.6%
  Democratic Party Eva Bacal 109,963 36.2 +2.2%
  Libertarian Party Robert Anderson 10,443 3.4 +0.4%

2006

Party Candidate Votes  % Change
  Democratic Party Gabrielle Giffords 114,794 54.1 +17.9%
  Republican Party Randy Graf 89,609 42.2 -18.2%
  Libertarian Party David Nolan 4,025 1.9 -1.5%

2008

Arizona's 8th congressional district election, 2008[1]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Gabrielle Giffords (incumbent) 179,629 54.72 +0.62%
Republican Tim Bee 140,553 42.82 +0.62%
Libertarian Paul Davis 8,081 2.46 +0.56
Independent Paul Price (write-in) 3 0.00%
Totals 328,266 100.00%
Democratic hold

History

Athabaskan-speaking Native Americans lived in this region long before the arrival of the Europeans who established the Arizona Territory. In the late 1800s, Apache chief Cochise and a band of Chiricahuas built their stronghold on the Dragoon range of mountains. The tribe would often ambush and rob passer-by as an attempt to keep interlopers off their land. The presence of the tribe deterred the settlement of the area for far longer than the rest of the Arizona Territory. Cochise, after a few decades, was eventually starved out of his stronghold and hanged. The district, containing a county now called by his name, developed when its varied and valuable resources were found in the 1870s. The discovery of mines in 1878 in the Tombstone district spurred much growth and investment in the area.

Geography

The District is mountains and wide valleys. The district is considered to be high desert grasslands with elevations from 3500 to 6000 feet. Several mountain ranges run through the district with the highest peak in the Chiricahua Mountains at 9,796 feet. Southeast Arizona is at an ecological crossroads where habitats and species from the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts can all be found. The abrupt rise of mountains from the surrounding grasslands creates unique habitats harboring rare species and communities of plants and animals. The area has a semi-arid climate with moderate winters and hot summers. Precipitation rarely exceeds one inch in any month other than July, August, and September, when high intensity, but short-lived monsoon storms can occur.

Main industries

Primary job fields of the people in the district include: agriculture, ranching, livestock, mining, and tourism. The main irrigated crops are cotton, wheat, corn, grain, sorghum, alfalfa, hay, apples, peaches, cherries, grapes, pistachios, pecans, lettuce, chilis, and other vegetables. The area has a multitude of U-pick vegetable farms and orchards, including several organic farms. Greenhouse tomato and cucumber operations have been completed in the past few years with good success. In Cochise County there is the U.S. Army base Fort Huachuca and numerous military-industrial companies. In suburban and urban areas, Wal-Marts are the most abundant superstores.

Schools

In the district, there is Cochise College, a 2-year college. The University of Arizona is within a couple miles of the district border, located in central Tucson. 2.8% of adults 25 and older have completed less than 9th grade; 5.5% between 9th and 12th grade; but have not received a diploma. 17.9% are high school graduates; 26.8% have some college but no degree; 7.5% have an Associate’s degree; 26.1% have a Bachelor’s degree; and 13.5% have a Graduate or professional degree.

Tourism, recreation

Tourism is an important industry; the district has numerous natural wonders, national forests, parks, and conservation areas. There are multiple caverns (including the renowned Kartchner Caverns) and canyons available for visitation. Hiking, camping, fishing, and boating can be found throughout the region. There are also Apache historical sites, war memorials, museums, tour trains, and mine tours. Golfing is popular, and there are multiple golf courses across the district.

References

  1. Demographic information at census.gov
  2. 2004 Election data at CNN.com
  3. 2002 Election data from CBSNews.com
  4. Cochise County Page
  5. Arizona Genealogy
  6. Apache Tribe
  7. Giffords House Website


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