Those of you who have played video games before are probably aware of the nature of escalating levels: at the end of each level of many games, you have to fight a bad guy. And if you defeat them and go to the next level, the bad guys get consistently more difficult to beat. And while we don’t want to paint Democrats as video game bad guys, the concept is still ringing true for Scottsdale-area Congressman David Schweikert.
Schweikert’s roads to re-election have almost routinely gotten more and more difficult with each passing election, culminating in barely squeaking by Democrat Jevin Hodge in 2022. But that may be a relative cakewalk compared to what awaits him in 2024.
First came the news that state Representative Amish Shah will be running to face off against Schweikert in Arizona’s 1st Congressional district. Shah is a medical doctor by trade and has spent three terms in the state legislature, earning a reputation for personally knocking on more doors and speaking to more voters than any other candidate. He is also seen as a relative moderate politically and has strong fundraising abilities, meaning that he ticks off a lot of boxes in order to be truly competitive in a fight against Schweikert.
However perhaps the even bigger news in this race is the entry of someone that may be unfamiliar to most of our readers, but who has the ability to cannonball into the race: Andrei Cherny.
Cherny was a bit of a wunderkind in politics, going from Harvard to then becoming the youngest White House speechwriter in American history as part of the Clinton administration. He then moved to Arizona and worked as an Assistant Attorney General, ran for State Treasurer in 2010 and for Congress in 2012; in the former, he ran against Doug Ducey and in the latter he ran into the buzz-saw that was Kyrsten Sinema’s first run for Congress. Things happen for a reason however, and what Cherny did next was his most impressive work.
He then went on to co-found Aspiration, a socially conscious financial services firm. With the help of some extremely big named venture capital, he built it up as CEO until 2021, where the firm went public as part of a SPAC merger for the princely sum of $2.3 billion. An incredible CV mixing both the public and private sector, an even more impressive rolodex, and proven fundraising prowess. While he may be largely unknown to much of district 1 now, that will change in a big way soon enough.
Representative Schweikert is a fighter. When politicos and press thought he was down for the count in the past, he dragged himself off the mat and kept swinging. But the boss at the end of this level will almost certainly be tougher than he’s even met before. He’ll need every last ounce of fight he has in him.