UPDATED: Scathing Competition for CD8 – Who Will ‘Slippin’ Debbie’ Lesko’s Successor Be…?

UPDATE 11/5/23: In perhaps the oddest twist in this crazy field of GOP candidates for this open seat, former Representative Trent Franks has announced his interest in returning to Congress. You may recall that Franks resigned amid scandal that he asked some of his staffers to bear his babies. Since the GOP seems no longer to consider such sexual peccadillos to be at all disqualifying – judging from the behavior from Trump and others they have been willing to condone – Franks seems to like his chances at a comeback.

This weekend, Abe Hamadeh, newly announced GOP Primary candidate for AZ-08, announced a string of endorsements from far-right MAGA Extremists in the legislature and Trump allies that aided the January 6th insurrection. 

Still under investigation by the Army Reserve. Why is that Abe?

But by far the most important endorsement he purchased (I wonder if he again borrowed family money to falsely claim a million in the bank for the race, which is how he conned Trump…) is that of Kari #LyingLoserLake. Looking at polling pre-Kari’s-endorsement and post-Kari’s-endorsement polls, which now show Hammadeh with a strong lead, he arguably launched him ahead of rival and former Senate loser, Blake Masters, who had previously announced his candidacy for Lesko’s seat. Of course, neither of these carpet-bagging grifters even lives in the district they want to represent.

Abe’s Extreme Endorsers: 

  • Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers, who has received national attention for promoting election conspiracies and parroting white supremacist talking points. 
  • Arizona State Sen. Justine Wadsack, who was nearly recalled for her extremist stances, including support for QAnon and denial of election results.
  • Arizona State Sen. Sonny Borelli, who unsuccessfully sued to overturn Katie Hobbs’ victory in the 2022 Election.
  • Arizona State Sen. Janae Shamp, who proudly displayed a flag linked to the Christian Nationalist movement on the Arizona Senate floor. 
  • Former state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward, who was subpoenaed by the Department of Justice for her role in trying to overturn the 2020 election. She pleaded the Fifth repeatedly during questioning.
  • Arizona State Reps. Alex Kolodin and Cory McGarr, who failed to answer clearly if Joe Biden won the 2020 election and backed legislation to ban electronic ballot tabulators in favor of hand counts. 
  • Rep. Rachel Jones, who falsely claimed that 42% of ballots from the 2022 Election were not counted.
  • Former Nevada AG Adam Laxalt, who ran for the Senate in ‘22 and lost, tried to overturn Biden’s win in Nevada in 2020 and continuously claimed the election was “rigged.” 
  • Former Director of the United States National Intelligence Ric Grenell, who said the worst part of the January 6th insurrection was Donald Trump getting banned from Twitter.
  • Former Trump staffer Kash Patel, who created a charity to pay the legal bills of insurrectionists on January 6th.
  • Former Commissioner of the NYPD Bernard Kerik, who received a pardon from President Trump after being convicted on several felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. Kerick also pitched a plan to the Trump Administration to overturn the election.

“Abe Hamadeh’s endorsements from over a dozen MAGA Extremists speaks for itself,” said Executive Director of the Arizona Democratic Party, Morgan Dick. “Abe continues to embrace MAGA losers and extremists because he is one. Arizonans rejected Abe’s extremism when he ran for Attorney General and will reject him again in 2024.” 

Blake is still refining his human emulation mode

It’s not hard to find the humor and cringe in all of this. Blake Masters has indicated publicly that he set his sights on Congress instead of the Senate after conversations with Lake and Trump. I.e. Lake and Trump warned him to stay out of the Senate race in ’24, or they would curb stomp him. So Blake went off and announced for Lesko’s old seat, framing it as a favor to Lake to avoid a contested primary, and then Lake turned around and endorsed Blake’s chief rival for the seat, Abe Hamadeh. Talk about a massive ‘fuck you’ from Lake to Blake!

Blake’s response to this insulting slight is to simply say “We’re going to have great endorsers, too.” I don’t know about that, looking at the list of Abe’s endorsers, it looks to me like a who’s-who of Arizona’s MAGA crazies. I suspect that many of them, especially those who participated in the #AZFakeElectors scheme and may well be in jail before Nov. of ’24, but apparently, the signatures you need to gather to get on the ballot for the MAGA GOP are now those of prosecutors on an indictment or information, not those of voters on a petition. Trump has already racked up 91 such signatures, so, as always, he’s blazing the trail for MAGA candidates’ new nomination process. So it might not matter that we are going to lock all these criminals and traitors up.

Of course, the Dark Horse not yet in the race is current Arizona Legislature Speaker Ben Toma, who actually does live in the district and who is likely to blow out both carpetbagging con-men Hamadeh and Masters should he decide to step up to the US Congress. There are likely a lot of Republicans currently urging Toma to do just that, and spare us all the trouble of watching Hamadeh and Masters spread their slime all over CD8. If I had to bet on the outcome of the CD8 GOP/MAGA primary, my money would be on Toma: he doesn’t split his base as Hamadeh and Masters do, he’s got actual support and infrastructure in the district and has actual legislative and electoral experience, which neither of these MAGA con-men can boast of. Most importantly, Toma can get independent and crossover votes because, though you might disagree with him, at least you can talk to him about issues and try to find common ground without wanting to run away screaming.

Of course, there are still several potential candidates waiting in the wings, who could change the complexion of the race: Anthony Kernstate senator from the 27th district (2023–present), who was present for , and was a 2020 #AZFakeElector for Donald Trump, who may possibly end up with some indictment signatures of his own; Phil Lovas, former state representative from the 22nd district (2012–2017) and candidate for this seat in 2018; Janae Shamp, a state senator from the 29th district (2023–present); and Brandon Urness, former campaign manager for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who has formed an exploratory committee; are all possible candidates for this rare safe open district. And then there’s Rollie Stevens who is already in it to win it – he’s a songwriter and retired firefighter who might just light himself on fire and yodel his way to the Capitol.

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