harry mitchell the high school history teacher who rules with an iron fist is one of the worst government rulers in the history of arizona.
Mitchell resigns state post; readies run for Congress
Casey Newton The Arizona Republic Mar. 24, 2006 12:00 AM
State Sen. Harry Mitchell resigned his post Thursday, clearing the way for him to run for the congressional seat now held by J.D. Hayworth.
Mitchell, D-Tempe, announced his resignation on the Senate floor Thursday morning.
"I've been privileged to serve here for the past eight years representing the people of Tempe and Scottsdale," Mitchell said. "It's been an honor and one I won't soon forget."
Mitchell, who served as Tempe mayor for 16 years, had been expected to resign since filing papers last week to run for U.S. representative in Arizona's 5th Congressional District.
Fellow senators from both parties praised him as a gentleman and a statesman.
"We appreciate the service you've given, and we are better for having had you here," said Senate President Ken Bennett, R-Prescott. "Even when we disagreed, you always did it with dignity and you did it with respect and you did it with kindness. . . . We'll sure miss you."
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will choose Mitchell's replacement from a group of three candidates chosen by Democratic precinct committee representatives in Mitchell's district.
The replacement could come as early as next week, said Seth Scott, a spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party.
Mitchell, who also serves as chairman of the state party, plans to step down from that post as well. Democrats are still working on a transition plan, Scott said.
Mitchell will challenge judge and policy consultant Larry King in the primary.
"Prior to his announcing, it wasn't a race that was on anybody's radar screen," King said. "Maybe now we can have a full and thorough airing of the issues that affect people in the 5th District."
Democrats wished Mitchell luck in the race against Hayworth, a Republican who is seeking a seventh term.
"You're running an important race for us here in this party," said Senate Minority Leader Linda Aguirre, D-Phoenix. "Again, I can't say how much this caucus appreciates you."