What Has Changed Since George Floyd
Protests against racial injustice are motivating some political candidates to take on challenging races. In the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona Democrats are targeting a predominantly white district that has been held by Republicans for nearly a decade. Steve Goldstein from member station Cage's reports. That ethics violations committed by the incumbent could make the race more competitive. Arizona six Congressional district is centered in Scottsdale. Its residents are highly educated, affluent and early 75% white Congressman David Schweikert was reelected by double digits here in 2018. But Schweickart had been under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, and on Thursday he admitted to 11 violations and agreed to pay $50,000 fine Schweickart perspective. Opponents immediately pounced on the news. Here's Democrat Anita Malik. There's a part of me that's glad that we finally have closure to this investigation, but it is so infuriating to see him simply get off with a slap on the wrist. Even before acknowledging the ethics violations, Schweiker was already expected to face an intense general election campaign, in part because of an electorate that wants more action on combating racial injustice. One of the Democrats. Looking to challenge him is African American businessman Carl Gentles. While he believes many here are worried about education and jobs, he says, the killing of George Floyd has led to more direct conversations about racial injustice in the district has seen before. While George, Florida's African American I am an African American, and certainly I can see myself my son, my father, my brother in the face of George Floyd beneath that. Officers NI. I think people can see their own family members, no matter what race they are in the face of tourist Floyd Tianna Chander is one of those people Gentles is describing. She moved into the district eight years ago. Rallies and protests illustrated for her the dramatic need to find solutions. Chandler is middle aged and white. It's not okay to just be silent anymore, and we've got to figure out what the heck got us to this point and how we can try and sort of turned the tide and get rid of some of that racism. Hate Willingness to look the other way when things that we know what an OK continue to happen. Schweickart has been silent on race related topics. But the changing political environment since the killing of George Floyd may force him to talk about them. Erica County, which accounts for 60% of arrows on his population, has seen a clear shift toward more progressive voting in 2018 that included pushing Kirsten cinema to US Senate victory, becoming the first Democrat to win in arrows in a Senate race in nearly 25 years. But it's not just that Phoenix is growing rapidly, more diverse as Quentin James He's the founder and president of collective Pack, which is focused on electing African Americans across the country. There are a ton of suburban white women who are seeing these videos and wondering If those votes for Donald Trump in 2016. If don't do that, again, Republican consultant stand Barnes understands why Democrats are generally optimistic about 2020 here but says it's misplaced in the Phoenix suburbs. I do not think the racially charged politics that we're living in that the moment plays favorably for the Democratic nominee. In that congressional district, in part that it's so overdone, and I think voters are numb to that kind of play. But Quentin James believes that voters now more than any other time in recent history, are looking to choose the best candidate. Whatever color they are part of what folks One also know is Do you hear me? And are you going to fight for me? And it doesn't take white voters to get white candidates just to do that, or Blackwater's only looking for black answer. I think that's the core question, James says. As candidates of color are becoming more common, voters are increasingly more comfortable with choosing them to bring about changes many in the public are calling for for NPR news. I'm Steve Goldstein in Phoenix.