Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko announced Tuesday that she will not run for re-election in the state’s 8th Congressional District, which instantly open the door to a competitive primary election in 2024.
In her statement, Lesko called Washington D.C. “broken” and thanked her supporters.
“I want to spend more time with my husband, my 94-year-old mother, my three children, and five grandchildren,” she said.
Lesko has been in office since 2018, and she ran unopposed, excluding write-ins, in 2022. Her district sits northwest Maricopa County where a large population of senior citizens reside.
As the seat will likely go to a Republican, conversation immediately sparked about who will throwing their hat in the ring.
Former attorney general nominee Abe Hamadeh was the first candidate to announce on Tuesday.
“Our country is in desperate need of courageous fighters, and that’s why I’m proud to announce I’m running for Congress in Arizona’s 8th District,” he posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “President Trump is under attack. He needs back up — and I’m ready to help him Make America Great Again.”
Before he jumped in, Senate candidate Kari Lake, who’s a close ally of Hamadeh, posted that she hopes he “considers” getting into the race.
Meanwhile, Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma said he’s considering a bid, according to Axios’ Jeremy Duda.
Former Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters is also being floated as a possible contender, but many lawmakers in Lesko’s district have said they would not be entering the race.
“I will continue to be a states rights supporter. I am more interested in saving Arizona. It took people many many months to convince me to reenter the fray. Going to DC is not in my immediate future,” State Sen. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, posted in a tweet thanking Lesko for her time in Congress.
State Rep. Austin Smith, R-Wittmann, also declined to run.
“I’m focused on representing the fantastic people of LD29 who overwhelmingly sent me to the legislature to fight for them,” he posted.
As for Democrats, Greg Whitten announced he was seeking the seat last month.
The primary election is Aug. 6, 2024.
Image Credit: Home Page of Congresswoman Debbie Lesko
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