Contenders in Arizona’s Crowded Congressional Primary to Square off at Candidate Forum

Guest post by R.C. Maxwell

The forum, hosted by the Phoenix civic action group EZAZ, will be the first substantive peek into the tense race which highlights the fractured nature of Arizona’s conservative factions.

On Wednesday November 15, residents of north and west Phoenix will get their first opportunity to hear directly from GOP candidates in Arizona’s crowded 8th Congressional District primary.

The valley race has pitted former allies Abe Hamadeh who ran for Attorney General in 2022 and Blake Masters who ran for U.S. Senate against each other. Anthony Kern, a state senator with a staunchly conservative voting record has also entered the race and will be attending the upcoming candidate forum hosted by EZAZ, a grassroots civic engagement group in Phoenix.

The fact that the candidates are coming together for the forum is a testament to EZAZ’s grassroots might.

The organization, founded in 2020, is known for “making civic engagement easy as pie” by alerting Maricopa County residents to attend hearings and public meetings which are usually scarcely attended despite their significance like transportation meetings or Arizona Corporation Commission gatherings.

“CD8 voters need to deliver a fighter who won’t back down when the mob, pro-tyranny caucus, and weak moderates pressure them into keeping the status quo,” an official statement from EZAZ reads.

The winner of the primary will likely win the seat considering the district is an R+10 on the Partisan Voting Index.

The race has attracted attention ever since Rep. Debbie Lesko surprisingly announced her retirement from congress. As soon as the vacancy was announced, Hamadeh threw his hat into the ring and was promptly endorsed by Kari Lake, the presumed Republican nominee for Senate come November.

Masters, who teased a run for Governor to the ire of Lake, then announced his intention to run for the seat followed by State Senator Anthony Kern who is currently polling with an outside chance to win although it’s very early.

An X-Factor in the race is State Rep. Ben Toma who lives in the district and serves as Speaker of the House in the Grand Canyon State. Toma will not be attending Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Arizona’s primary election takes place on August 6th, 2024.

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