CD 8 special election: Get to know Phil Lovas

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Phil Lovas (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Phil Lovas (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Lovas family (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Lovas family (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Phil and Corinne Lovas (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Phil and Corinne Lovas (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Phil Lovas and his wife, Corinne, agree that hiking is just one of the activities they enjoy together as a family. The political power couple is busy raising three children in this sprawling part of the West Valley. Oh, and running for Congress at the same time. 

"We've lived out here in the West Valley for about 14 years and that's one of the things we noticed right away. These are very hard working, down to earth people," Lovas said. "Great people, and families. These are very faith-based folks." 

Growing up near Akron, OH, this former paperboy saw hard, honest work as just part of the Midwest values passed down from his family.

[VIDEO: Investigative reporter Morgan Loew reports on Lovas' political and professional work]

"My grandfathers both worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber from the end of WW II to the end of 1970, making tires on the line," he explained. "My mother taught high school English there. English and French. Imagine, being 16, 17 years old, having your mother walk the halls every day knowing what's going on with you.”   

With that permanent hall monitor watching his every move, could he get away with anything? 

“No! Nothing," Lovas laughed. "Nothing at all!"

A bachelor's in journalism at Ohio University followed high school. Then it was on to Baylor University graduate school for a master’s degree in political science. But these two Ohio natives would not have found each other if it weren't for politics.

[MORE: Special election for Arizona's Congressional District 8]

"We met at a political function," Lovas said. "I was working for a woman who was running for state representative for Ohio in 1994. She was working for a guy who was running for a congressional seat."

"My candidate lost on election night; his won," Corinne said. "So, he came over part of the night to check on me. Just qualities I could tell, 'OK this one's a keeper!'"

Lovas remembers he hedged his bets when it came to asking for the first date.

"I called her and said, 'Do you want to go to a Cleveland Indians game?' She said, ‘I'm busy, I can't go.’ So, then I said, 'That's OK; I got tickets for the next night, too. What do you think?' So, that's how our first date went," he recalled.

“He even told me later when I asked him, ‘Who did you take that first night?’ and he said that he took his mom and I went, ‘Oh he's not a player; he's a good guy!;" Corinne said.

"We've certainly forged a bond during that campaign that lasted, now 24 years," Lovas said.

Back to the CD 8 special election that is packed with candidates and is heavily favored to go to the Republican who makes it out of the primary, what is Lovas' message to his family, win or lose? 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona politics]

"That we convey to our kids, that, 'Hey, if you want to get something done in life, if you think there is something very important, you need to step out, go beyond yourself even, to put that into effect and to make a difference in the world,'" Lovas said. 

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