Senate Minority Leader David Schapira announced Nov. 21 he is exploring a run for Congress.
In doing so, the 31-year-old Democrat can begin raising money and gauging his level of support in what is expected to be a Democratic-leaning district that includes his hometown of Tempe.
Schapira is a former high school teacher and now an instructor at Arizona State University, a profile that would fit well in a district where the state’s biggest university sits.
Schapira sought to highlight those political strengths in a video announcing his interest in running for Congress.
Prior to joining the Senate, Schapira won two elections as a House member representing Tempe.
Reached on the phone, Schapira talked about education when asked why he’s interested in running for Congress.
“Primarily, I think we really need a member of Congress who is focused on educational issues,” Schapira said.
In his video, Schapira talks about the challenges the country is facing and how schools have borne the brunt of budget cuts. He also pans Congress for its inability to get past partisan bickering.
“To make matters worse, our Congress is completely out of touch, choosing to focus on trivial and divisive issues while ignoring policies that could help us compete in a global economy,” he says in his video.
Schapira is the latest Democrat to express an interest in the proposed 9th Congressional District, which leans Democratic and takes in Tempe, central Phoenix and Ahwatukee Foothills.
Democrats are keen on the district, which in its current form, gives them a slight competitiveness edge, the first time in decades for the minority party.
But Schapira would also likely face stiff competition from other well-known Democrats, possibly including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny, former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano and former congressional candidate and businessman Jon Hulburd.
Schapira served as an aide to U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and managed Terry Goddard’s 2002 campaign for Arizona attorney general.