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Redistricting could affect Rep. Stanton's reelection against newcomer Cooper

In the past, Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton has run in safe Democratic districts. But Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission redrew the state’s congressional district lines as part of the 10-year redistricting process. 

Now Stanton may be in for a closer race than he’s dealt with before.

Congressional District 4 covers Tempe, Mesa and parts of Chandler and Ahwatukee. 

The area has leaned slightly left in recent elections but was redrawn to be more competitive by the IRC.

Kelly Cooper, a Republican, restaurant owner and Marine Corp veteran, hopes to take advantage of that.

Cooper recently earned the endorsement of former President Trump and, like most Republicans in Arizona, is running a campaign focused on the nation’s economy.

“From my perspective, the Number 1 issue is inflation and the economy. When you have to make a decision whether you can afford gas or groceries, that's a problem,” Cooper said.

Stanton counters that he supported the bipartisan infrastructure bill, where he insisted it include more dollars for water resources in Arizona — a resource that he says will be key to the state’s economy.

“It may be the Number 1 issue impacting the future economic growth of Arizona," Santon said.

Stanton acknowledges concerns about the state’s ability to grow with limited water resources, but he’s unphazed.

“I was mayor of Phoenix, and we had very smart, strategic and aggressive water policies that allowed us to grow into the fifth-largest city in America but actually use less water than we did 20 years ago," Stanton said. 

Beyond the economy, polling has shown abortion to be a key topic, particularly among Democratic and Independent voters. 

Independents may be the key to winning CD4, according to political consultant Paul Bentz.

“No single party can win this district without appealing to independent, unaffiliated voters. They make up about 24% of the statewide audience. They will likely make up somewhere between 25, 26% of voters in Congressional District 4,” Bentz said. 

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Cooper said he approved of the ruling that returns abortion rights decisions back to the states.

“I believe in the United States Constitution, which allows for and was put forth by the states in a collective management of the state’s relationship if you will. Anything that is not in that constitution is not a federal government’s purview,” Cooper said. 

Cooper describes himself as pro-life but he’s not in favor of a blanket abortion ban. Cooper said he prefers policies that allow for some exceptions to abortion bans, as well as legalizing abortions for a limited amount of time at the beginning of a pregnancy. 

Stanton disagrees completely with the high court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“I have even before the Dobbs decision voted for the women’s health protection act, establishing Roe v. Wade in federal law. After the Dobbs decision we voted again, and of course I support it,” Stanton said. 

Stanton’s position on abortion could be an issue that helps him keep his seat in Congress. 

Bentz says abortion is one of several factors that are influencing the minds of the district’s independent voters.

Ongoing Republican discussions about voting fraud and GOP efforts to ban early voting have also made their mark.

“While yes on paper, it is a more competitive district than maybe what CD 9 was in the past, the DNA of this district of Congressional District 4 leans more Democratically,” Bentz said. 

Bentz says Stanton will be relying on the district’s Democratic roots, while Cooper will hope for historically strong GOP turnout in midterm elections.

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.