CD 8 Special Election Candidates (so far)


Candidates interested in running for the congressional district 8 seat vacated by Rep. Trent Franks have until 5:00 p.m. on January 10 to file nominating petitions for the congressional district 8 special election.

The special election primary will take place on Tuesday, February 27. The special election general election will take place on Tuesday, April 24.

So with ten days to file, who is currently in the race?

According to the Federal Elections Commission, these are the candidates who are currently filed:

Chad Allen (R), healthcare executive

Travis Angry (R), motivational speaker, author, veteran

Scott Allen Baker (R), computer technician and informaton security analyst

Debbie Lesko (R), State Senate President Pro-Tempore (resigned), former State Representative

David Lien (R), piano teacher, former council member in Willmar, Minnesota

Phil Lovas (R), SBA Regional Official (resigned), former State Representative

Steve Montenegro (R), State Senator, Minister, former House Majority Leader, former Congressional Aide to Rep. Trent Franks

Bob Stump (R), former State Corporation Commissioner, former State Representative

Christoper Sylvester (R), Aerospace Engineer, Retired Navy Officer

Judith McHale (D), Mental Health Counselor

Robert Kyle Schuster (D), High School Coach, Graduate Student, Ex-Store Manager

Hiral Vyas Tipirneni (D), Scientific Review Officer, Physician

Brianna Westbrook (D), LGBT Activist, Sales Manager

Augustine “Augie” Beyer (Ind), Store Manager,  former Tonawanda, NY School Board Member

Candidates reportedly running but who do not have an FEC filing number:

Bill Harbeck (R), Christian Educator, Executive of Holding on to Hope Ministries

Richard Mack (undeclared), former Graham County Sheriff and leader of the far-right extremist constitutional sheriffs movement

Christopher Rippey (R), Auto Dealer Service Advisor

Jon Ritzheimer (R), a former US Marine, one of the Bundy occupiers of the Malheur Wildlife Reserve in Oregon, and prominent anti-Muslim activist

According to this Phoenix New Times post from December 12, Here’s Everyone Who’s Running To Replace Trent Franks, there may be several more candidates:

• Perennial candidate Clair Van Steenwyck, a retiree in Sun City West who previously attempted to run against Senator John McCain.

• John P. Heffernan III, an investment banker and Ronald Reagan enthusiast.

• Brenden Dilley, a life coach whose website proudly trumpets the words, “Supporting the Trump agenda.” For some reason, it also features a number of photos of New York City, despite the fact that he is running for office in Arizona.

Kevin Engholdt, a self-described “consultant, entrepreneur, and problem solver.” He was previously planning on running for State Senate.

• Joseph Wagner, who is…. actually, we have no idea who he is. He’s not a known name in Republican politics, and hasn’t set up a campaign website yet.

• Robert Olsen is also on the list of declared Democrats. He doesn’t have a campaign webpage set up, and there are a number of Robert Olsens in the metro Phoenix area, so we have no clue who this person is.

• Green Party candidate Richard Grayson, who attempted to run for president in 2012 and threatened to bite Jan Brewer’s finger off. There’s a long backstory to this, but basically you can blame Tucson Weekly.

If you live in Congressional District 8 and want to help any of the candidates above,  you can sign their petitions electronically via the Secretary of State’s website.

If you know of any other candidates who have filed to run that I have missed above, please post their information in the comments.


  1. So the field has narrowed down to two women: Republican Debbie Lesko vs. Democrat Hiral Hiperneni. Stay tuned for the special General election on April 24.

  2. I am a registered Democrat who supported and worked for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries and general election.

    The news about me being a Green candidate for this congressional seat is fake news. The Green Party and its presidential candidate Jill Stein need to be investigated for its role in collusion with the government of Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. The Green Party bears responsibility for the nightmare our nation has been going through for the past year.

    In 2018, the only way voters can get change is to vote for Democratic candidates.

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