Arizona GOP Primary Gets First Major Contender

Mark Lamb speaks in 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Happy Monday! A quick bookkeeping note on the unkind words about the St. Louis Cardinals you may have encountered in The Morning Dispatch today: The current MLB season is about 9 percent complete, and Andrew is looking forward to the first Cardinals-Cubs series of the season early next month.

Up to Speed

  • Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to formally announce his presidential campaign in Bentonville on April 26. Hutchinson, who also previously served in Congress and as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration under George W. Bush, has positioned himself as the race’s most direct critic of former President Donald Trump, telling Fox Business last week that “I for one do not believe that Donald Trump can win a general election.”
  • Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Friday that he will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Pompeo had spent recent months going through the pre-campaign candidate dance, making appearances in early primary states and releasing a political memoir earlier this spring. In his statement, he kept the door open for a possible future run: “There remain many more opportunities for which the timing might be more fitting as presidential leadership becomes even more necessary.”
  • Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is also tamping down speculation about a possible run. “Listen, I didn’t write a book, and I’m not in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina,” Youngkin said at an event last week. “I am wholly focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I’m looking forward to these elections.”
  • Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her aides are rebuffing calls for her to resign as she continues to battle shingles. Her roughly two-month hospital stay has stalled a number of Senate Judiciary confirmations, prompting the 89-year-old Democrat to ask for a temporary replacement on the panel until she recovers. Last week, Politico reported that “three people who have visited with the senator in recent weeks or been briefed on her status say her diagnosis appears to have taken a heavy toll on her,” and that “multiple Democrats close to her, as well as top-ranking congressional aides, are growing increasingly concerned that she may never come back to Washington at all.”
  • Scandal-embroiled GOP Rep. George Santos’ campaign “refunded more contributions than it took in during the first three months of the year,” the Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend, topping off an unusual fundraising quarter for a congressman who has already filed paperwork to run for reelection in 2024. The New York Post reported over the weekend that the congressman is gearing up to announce his reelection bid this week.
  • Responding to unrest in downtown Chicago Friday and Saturday night, when hundreds of teens flooded the streets to smash windshields, steal cars, and injure passersby, Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said the city needs a “comprehensive approach” to public safety. “In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend,” Johnson said in a Sunday evening statement. “It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.” At least three teens suffered gunshot wounds, according to local media reports.
  • New Federal Election Commision reports show that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley significantly overstated what her campaign had initially characterized as an $11 million six-week fundraising haul since announcing her campaign in mid-February. “The campaign appears to have double-counted money it moved among various committees,” the Washington Post reports. “The filings, covering the first three months of the year, show that three committees affiliated with Haley collectively brought in about $8.3 million.”

The American Sheriff Enters the Arizona Senate Primary

The Arizona Senate race, which promises to be one of next year’s most interesting contests, just got its first significant Republican contender. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb announced his bid for independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat last Monday.

“We need leaders in this country that aren’t too politically correct to protect us,” Lamb said in a tightly produced launch video. “I’ll stand up to the woke left and the weak politicians in Washington, secure our border, and support our law enforcement.”

A sheriff seeking higher office isn’t unusual in Arizona, where border security and crime have both leapt to the fore as core Republican issues in recent years. The 2018 Arizona Senate race—the one that sent Sinema to the Senate in the first place—featured another populist lawman in the Republican primary: former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who ultimately placed third.

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