Arizona 8 Special: Franks’ Resignation Opens Up Republican Seat

Republicans looking to rebound from a historic special election loss in Alabama might look to Arizona’s 8th District.

In December, a female staffer reported that GOP Rep. Trent Franks pressured her to be a surrogate for the congressman and his wife, allegedly offering her $5 million. Franks announced he would resign in late January after speaking with Speaker Paul Ryan about the accusations. But as more accusations surfaced—including that two female staffers thought Franks may have been asking to have sex with them—Franks immediately resigned, citing his wife’s health issues. 

The winner of the Feb. 27 GOP primary will start the special general election (to be held April 24) with a significant advantage. The demographics of the district, where the population is largely older and whiter than the national average, should favor Republicans and could be magnified if those voters turn out in greater proportion for a special election. The voting history of the district also points to a Republican edge. 

But the primary, which many Republicans consider to be the main event, is less than two months away, and it’s not yet clear who has an edge. The field of prospective candidates narrowed last week, as 13 Republicans and three Democrats turned in enough signatures to appear on the primary ballot. But local Republicans have yet to consolidate for a candidate.

Time could bring clarity to the GOP field, but for now Republicans point to a few candidates who have the potential…

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