Former Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters announced Thursday that he would run for an open congressional seat in the Phoenix suburbs, changing course from a planned second run for Senate in 2024.
“I’m running for Congress, to fight for Arizona’s 8th.,” Masters tweeted Thursday, along with a video featuring his family. “Biden has failed. We need Trump back. We need to stop inflation, Build the Wall, avoid WW3, and secure Arizona’s water future. We need to fight for our families.”
Masters, who ran against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) in a marquee Senate race in the 2022 midterm elections and lost by nearly 5 percentage points, had been hailed by conservative figures like Tucker Carlson as the “future of the Republican Party.” He has also received financial support from tech billionaire Peter Thiel.
Masters received considerable attention during the 2022 campaign for his views on abortion and his flirtations with “the great replacement,” a racist conspiracy theory promoted by white nationalists that contends elites — and in some cases Jews and Democrats — plan to use nonwhite immigrants to radically change the country’s demographics.
He had previously planned to make another run for Senate, this time against incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.). Masters’ entry could have kicked off a tough and expensive primary against Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb and former gubernatorial candidate and television reporter Kari Lake.
The safely Republican district, which encompasses many of the northern and western suburbs of Phoenix, went for former President Donald Trump by 13 points in 2020 and has been represented by outgoing Rep. Debbie Lesko, a Republican, since 2018.
Lesko announced earlier this month that she would retire in 2024, saying in a statement that “I want to spend more time with my husband, my 94-year-old mother, my three children, and my five grandchildren.”
Masters will face off against Abraham Hamadeh, a former prosecutor and candidate for Arizona attorney general in 2022, in the Republican primary. Hamadeh has been endorsed by Lake and other Republicans in the state.
The Hamadeh campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.