With Arizona’s 8th Congressional District up for grabs after the announcement by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) that she won’t seek reelection in 2024, the race has already attracted a slew of Republican candidates, notably including Blake Masters, a venture capitalist from Tucson. The district, home to around 800,000 people, is a GOP stronghold. President Donald Trump won the district by 13 points in 2020, and according to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the GOP holds a 15% vote spread against Democratic candidates statewide.
Masters, who lost to Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in the 2022 midterm election, announced his candidacy last Thursday, positioning himself as a political outsider. “We need people from outside the bureaucracy who will stand up to the establishment,” Masters said on his campaign website.
J.D. Vance is a terrific Senator fighting for a secure border, good jobs for the American people, and a foreign policy that puts America First.
I can’t wait to team up with him when I’m in the House. Proud to have his trust and endorsement. pic.twitter.com/lH9VQJ1wUT
— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) October 27, 2023
In the 2022 Senate race, Masters was endorsed by President Trump and ran on a platform of securing the border, protecting the unborn, the First and Second Amendments, and restoring American energy independence and high-paying manufacturing jobs. He also pledged to protect Arizona’s water supply.
Masters’ announcement comes with some significant endorsements but also a notable absence. He has received the backing of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH). Vance said, “Blake is the conservative fighter we need in the House to combat the extreme liberal policies of Joe Biden and to put the GOP establishment in its place.” But conspicuously absent from the list of endorsers is Kari Lake, a prominent Arizona Republican and close ally of Trump, whom Masters had said he supports.
Masters explained that he opted not to run for Senate because he didn’t want to challenge Lake, who is rumored to be considering a Senate run next year for the seat currently held by former Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ). “President Trump wanted Kari to run, and I think she’s running a hell of a campaign so far, so I look forward to supporting her,” Masters told KTAR-FM.
But Masters now faces off against a candidate Lake has thrown her weight behind — Abraham Hamadeh, a Republican who ran for Arizona attorney general last year with Trump’s endorsement and lost by fewer than 300 votes. Hamadeh announced his candidacy for the 8th District seat hours after Lesko said she wouldn’t seek reelection.
Lake’s campaign has reiterated her support for Hamadeh, noting his unwavering support for her during her battles against what she has described as corruption in Maricopa County. Hamadeh himself has gone on the offensive against Masters, noting that while he won the 8th District by 12% in his attorney general race, Masters only won it by 7% in his Senate bid. “We can’t afford any unnecessary errors going into 2024, our country is on the line,” Hamadeh wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
For his part, Masters remains confident. “I’m going to have great endorsements too,” he told KTAR. “Congressman Paul Gosar just endorsed me, probably the most conservative members of the House of Representatives will end up endorsing me. I think they’d like me to be their colleague.”