Aiming to unseat Rep. David Schweikert, Elijah Norton runs for Congress
Republican businessman Elijah Norton has decided to challenge Rep. David Schweikert in a GOP primary expected to focus on ethics, experience and conservative credentials.
Norton, 31, enters the race as a wealthy executive who has headed a pair of vehicle-warranty businesses and is relatively new to Arizona, especially to Schweikert’s Scottsdale-based 6th Congressional District. He had formed in May an exploratory committee considering a run.
Speaking from his new residence in Scottsdale, the Missouri native who has had several homes in the Phoenix area made his argument for Congress.
Norton advocates a crackdown on what he called "a border crisis that has basically happened overnight since Joe Biden has taken office" and making permanent the corporate tax cuts passed under former President Donald Trump. Those tax cuts had the input and support from Schweikert, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
Norton also sees China as the biggest threat to the U.S. since the Soviet Union, but it is the ethics case against Schweikert, R-Ariz., that is the real pillar of Norton’s campaign.
"First and foremost, he wasted taxpayer dollars and that was part of the report. That's our money that we paid him that he's wasted and he's illegally used those monies, so that affects people directly," Norton said.
"But people are looking for people to represent them honestly in Congress and are in Congress for the right reasons. They're there to represent the people, there to serve the people. David is there to serve himself."
The House of Representatives reprimanded Schweikert last year for 11 ethics rules violations for improper spending by his office and his campaign. He was fined $50,000 as part of a settlement agreement to end the years-long probe.
"I think it's interesting that a 'math geek' lied on (a Federal Elections Commission) report," Norton said. "I pride myself on actually looking at my taxes."
For Schweikert, Norton could present a challenge he hasn’t faced since 2012, when Schweikert defeated then-Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., in a GOP primary after the two congressional freshmen went head to headin the same district.
Chris Baker, a consultant to Schweikert's campaign, said Norton "is not a serious candidate," while Schweikert continues "to have a lot of support from people who know his record, like what he's done and like having him as their congressman."
"It's a free country. If people want to try their political fate against David, they're welcome to do so," Baker said. "But the fate will be the same as it was for Ben Quayle, as it was for his primary challengers in 2010 and 2008."
Norton is the founder and president of Phoenix-based Veritas Global Protection, which provides vehicle-service contracts and warranties.
Schweikert, who is seeking a seventh term in Washington, has noted that Norton is new to the northeast Valley and has only lived in Arizona for about four years.
Norton said a fearful flight that grounded him in Phoenix introduced him to the Valley.
"My plane encountered severe turbulence. It was the worst plane flight I've ever been on in my entire life, and I've been on a lot of plane flights," he said.
"We circled Phoenix for about an hour. People were screaming on the plane. I was afraid I was going to crash. We ended up stopping overnight in Phoenix."
He used the time to explore Scottsdale on the recommendation of a friend and business partner.
"There was a very pro-business climate here. Tax rates are low, very low regulation. It's a great place to start a business," he said. "So I opened a second office and I bought a second home right here in downtown Scottsdale, and I just immediately fell in love with it."
Norton is new to politics as a candidate, but has been a prominent donor to conservative candidates, including his opponent, Schweikert.
He also supported Trump, former Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and a political action committee aiding both of Georgia's GOP candidates in December.
FEC records show he gave more than $153,000 in the 2020 election cycle alone.
Schweikert hasn't had a primary opponent since 2016, when he defeated Russ Wittenberg by 60 percentage points.
The 6th Congressional District is Arizona’s wealthiest and is among the more affluent in the nation.
It runs from Cave Creek and Carefree south to the Salt River Reservation near Tempe. It stretches from Deer Valley east to Fort McDowell and includes Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.
All of the state’s House districts will be redrawn before the 2022 elections, and it is uncertain how closely any of them will maintain their current shapes.
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