ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona GOP lawmakers Ben Toma, Anthony Kern set sights on West Valley congressional seat

Nov 1, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: 5:24 pm

Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma, left, and state Sen. Anthony Kern have set their sights on U.S. Rep...

Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma, left, and state Sen. Anthony Kern have set their sights on U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko’s West Valley congressional seat. (Arizona State Legislature and VoteKern.com Photos)

(Arizona State Legislature and VoteKern.com Photos)

PHOENIX – Two GOP members of the Arizona Legislature have set their sights on U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko’s West Valley congressional seat.

State House Speaker Ben Toma and Sen. Anthony Kern are the latest high-profile Republicans to express interest in succeeding Lesko, who announced two weeks ago she won’t seek reelection in 2024.

Toma and Kern both serve the 27th Legislative District, which is mostly within Lesko’s GOP-leaning 8th Congressional District. CD8 covers northwest Phoenix and adjoining suburban areas.

Toma hasn’t made an official announcement, but he filed a statement of interest with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday. In addition, the website he used when running for the Legislature has been retooled for a congressional run.

Kern announced his intentions on social media Monday and also has an updated campaign website.

Who else is running for Rep. Debbie Lesko’s seat in Congress?

The two conservative lawmakers join a Republican primary field that already includes Abe Hamadeh, the losing 2022 nominee for state attorney general, and Blake Masters, who lost his U.S. Senate bid in last year’s general election.

Hamadeh lives in Scottsdale and Masters in Tucson. U.S. House members are required to be residents of the state they represent, but not necessarily the district.

And in another twist, Republican Trent Franks, who held the seat before Lesko, announced Wednesday he was running to return to Congress.

Franks resigned in 2017 in the midst of a scandal over discussions he had about surrogacy with at least two staffers.

According to the Federal Elections Commission database, Democrats Gregory Whitten and Bernadette Greene Placentia and independent Jeremy Spreitzer have also submitted fundraising paperwork for the CD8 seat.

Ten other candidates have filed statements of interest for the Lesko’s seat with the state: Republicans Nick Kupper, Jon Forsythe, Rollie Stevens, Seth Coates, Isiah Gallegos and Jimmy Rodriguez, and Democrats Jim Holmes, Marc Lewis, Steven Sawdy and Donald Case.

Rodriguez is the only Republican who filed before Lesko announced Oct. 17 she was leaving Congress at the end of her term in January 2025.

Statements of interest must be submitted before a candidate can start collecting signatures for nominating petitions.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

State's new budget a sore spot for attorney general - Here's why...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona AG ‘extremely disappointed’ with state budget cuts to opioid settlement funds

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes released a statement saying she is "extremely disappointed" with the state's new budget on Saturday.

21 minutes ago

Bipartisan state budget of $16 billion passes in Arizona Legislature...

Associated Press

Arizona lawmakers pass bipartisan $16.1 billion budget, fix $1.4 billion deficit

Arizona lawmakers passed a $16.1 billion bipartisan state budget, which Gov. Hobbs negotiated with GOP leaders, on Saturday evening.

4 hours ago

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close (ADOT Photo)...

Bailey Leasure

Southbound Loop 101 on-ramp in Scottsdale to close for 2 months

 The southbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Princess Drive and Pima Road in Scottsdale is scheduled to be closed for two months

6 hours ago

Improvements coming to Brooks Crossing Park (City of Chandler Photo)....

Bailey Leasure

New improvements coming to Chandler’s Brooks Crossing Park

Chandler City Council approves a construction agreement that will allow for improvements to Brooks Crossing Park.

7 hours ago

The new Desert Sage Restaurant & Bar inside the recently renovated Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hot...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa wraps up extensive renovation

The Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa hotel in Glendale recently underwent a nine-month long, multimillion-dollar renovation.

7 hours ago

arizona water conservation...

Nick Borgia

Arizona to invest $8.5 million for water conservation project

Arizona senators announced that $8.5 million will be invested in Arizona to continue a feasibility study related to water conservation.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Arizona GOP lawmakers Ben Toma, Anthony Kern set sights on West Valley congressional seat