GOP Stars Emerge As Possible Congress Contenders After Swing-State Rep Announces Retirement

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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GOP Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko’s Tuesday announcement that she will be retiring at the end of her term has sparked Republican interest in the seat, with one candidate already jumping in and another prominent figure being floated.

Abe Hamadeh, who narrowly lost a bid for Arizona attorney general in 2022, announced a run for the district on X, formerly known as Twitter, just hours after Lesko’s decision not to run for another term. Former Senate GOP nominee Blake Masters, who unsuccessfully ran for Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s seat in last year’s midterms, has been encouraged to run for the seat by Club for Growth President David McIntosh, the Daily Caller News Foundation confirmed.

“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,” Hamadeh wrote. “President Trump is under attack. He needs back up — and I’m ready to help him Make America Great Again.”

Masters responded to the news that Lesko would not run for another term on X, but made no mention of running for the seat. (RELATED: Republican Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko Announces She Will Not Be Seeking Reelection)

“Congresswoman Lesko has been a great public servant for Arizonans. I got to know her on the trail last year and greatly admire her. She loves our state and we are better off for her service. Thank you Debbie,” Masters wrote.

Member of the House Republican leadership Representative Debbie Lesko speaks at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 6, 2023. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Member of the House Republican leadership Representative Debbie Lesko speaks at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 6, 2023. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Lesko decided not to run for reelection because she wanted to spend more time with her family back in Arizona, she said. The congresswoman will serve out her full term through January 2025.

“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in Congress, however, I have decided not to run for re-election in 2024” Lesko said in the statement. “I want to spend more time with my husband, my 94-year-old mother, my three children and my five grandchildren.”

Now-Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes beat Hamadeh by only a few hundred votes, and Masters lost his 2022 Senate bid by nearly five points, according to Ballotpedia.

“Donald Trump needs strong fighters in Congress and Arizona needs leadership that will fight to secure our border, reduce costs, improve quality of life and take on the destructive Democrat machine that’s driving our country off a cliff,” Erica Knight, spokesperson for Hamadeh, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

Masters has reportedly been considering another Senate bid in 2024, where he would seek the Republican nomination to run for independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat. If he launches a campaign, Masters would have to face former GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb and several other Republicans in the primary.

Arizona’s 8th Congressional District is predominately Republican, with Lesko winning reelection in 2020 at nearly 60% of the vote, according to Ballotpedia.

Masters did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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