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GOP Lawmaker Decides Against Running for Reelection

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A Republican lawmaker from Arizona has decided not to run for reelection, claiming she wants to spend more time with family.

Rep. Debbie Lesko made the announcement on Tuesday, saying she would not seek a fourth term. Her district encompasses Phoenix’s West Valley.

“I have decided not to run for reelection in 2024,” she said in a statement. “I want to spend more time with my husband, my 94-year-old mother, my three children, and my five grandchildren.”

She went on to cite the gridlock in Congress, including the Republican majority’s failure, again, to name a Speaker during a vote on Tuesday that saw top candidate and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) receive only 200 of the required 217 votes needed.

“Right now, Washington, D.C., is broken; it is hard to get anything done. Please know that I will continue my work to improve Congress and to help my constituents and the American people. We must all work toward that end,” she added.

The good news for the party is that her district is bright red, favoring Republicans by at least 10 points, according to the Cook Political Report.

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A couple of higher-profile Republicans in the state, including former attorney general candidate Abraham Hamadeh and former U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters, have already been mentioned as potential candidates for Lesko’s seat.

On Tuesday evening after Lesko’s announcement, former GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who has recently announced her bid for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-Ariz.) seat, called on Hamadeh to run, calling him “one of the toughest” fighters in the state.

Meanwhile, Masters took to the X platform to laud Lesko and thank her for her service.

“Congresswoman Lesko has been a great public servant for Arizonans,” Masters wrote. “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.”

Neither he nor Hamadeh have announced they would run for the seat.

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Lake, who announced earlier this month she would run, has picked up her first major endorsement.

According to Fox News, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), has come out in support of Lake, who will attempt to turn at least one of Arizona’s two Senate seats red again after both went blue over the past two election cycles. Sinema won her seat in 2018, defeating Martha McSally, and last year, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly handily fended off Trump-backed Masters 51.4 percent to 46.5 percent.

“Joe Biden’s policies have crushed Arizona. Arizonans are dealing with record inflation – up 20 percent under the Biden administration. Arizona is also on the front lines of the worst illegal immigration crisis in American history. Nearly 8 million illegal immigrants under Biden, equal to the population of Arizona,” Barrasso said in a statement, per Fox News. “The U.S. Senate needs a Senator from Arizona that understands these issues, and will fight hard to solve them.”

In a statement to the outlet, Lake said she was “honored by the friendship and endorsement.”

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“[Barrasso]  is a tested and proven conservative leader who I greatly admire. I look forward to working with Senator Barrasso to get America back on track and fire Chuck Schumer,” she noted further.

Fox News adds:

Lake received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump amid her campaign launch last Tuesday, but Barrasso’s endorsement marks a major milestone as she has sought to build a bridge to establishment Republicans in an effort to coalesce support for what could be one of the most contentious races in 2024.

Ahead of her endorsement, Lake spent time meeting with various senators on Capitol Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and hardly mentioned election fraud in her announcement speech despite it being central to her political persona following her loss in the Arizona gubernatorial election last year.

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