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Ben Toma doing some holiday campaigning. (bentoma.com)

Toma Talks State of the CD8 Race with Globe

Speaker running for Congress divulges encouraging signs, including $300k raise

By Ken Kurson, January 5, 2024 12:06 pm

The Arizona Globe has been comprehensively covering the race to succeed Debbie Lesko in CD8. Today, the candidate who has earned her endorsement checked in to offer his observations on the state of the race. The contest has attracted a wide array of candidates, including Abraham Hamadeh, Blake Masters, and Anthony Kern. Hamadeh scored the endorsements of Donald Trump and Kari Lake and touted a poll showing him with a large early lead; Masters, who ran unsuccessfully for US Senate in 2022, has attracted endorsements from Ohio Senator JD Vance and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar.

Despite these national endorsements and early polling, Toma remains optimistic for winning the Republican primary in August and the general election in November.

Toma’s family escaped communist Romania when he a boy, informing his views that government will always expand to spend whatever money is made available to it. As if escaping a Soviet satellite state doesn’t automatically imply toughness, Toma and his wife are also the proud parents of five daughters. Elected in 2016 to represent the 27th district in the House, Toma became Speaker in 2023. The Globe spoke to him on Friday Jan 5, 2024.

So, Mr. Speaker, how do you think the race is going?

“My take is that it’s going very well,” Toma told the Globe. “In some ways better than expected. I can tell you that the real issue here in the short-term is to get the resources necessary to win. My team is very good. It’s actually Debbie’s team.”

Toma is referring to the campaign professionals of his predecessor, Debbie Lesko, who has forcefully endorsed Toma as her hoped-for successor.


Toma revealed to the Globe that using Lesko’s campaign team was an arrangement worked out between the two pols.

“That was part of the understanding between us that I would use her team in part because they already know the district and for my case why would I reinvent the wheel? That just doesn’t really make sense to do that.”

Asked specifically about money and the competition in a race that’s attracted at least five other candidates, Toma sounded an optimistic note.

“Our goal was to raise really in about five, six weeks, to raise at least a quarter of a million dollars. We exceeded that very significantly. I don’t have the final number, but it’s well over $300,000, so it went better than expected from that perspective.”

And how about the internal poll released by Abe Hamadeh’s campaign showing the former candidate for Attorney General with a 23-point lead?

“I can’t say anything other than the election is not today and an internal poll is an internal poll, shall we say. So not to mention that Mr. Hamadeh and at least one other candidate ran statewide [Blake Masters, US Senate candidate in 2022]. So of course, if it’s just a name ID from an internal poll, meaning the people you have on your mailing list of course they’re going to know about you more than they are about anyone else. That doesn’t mean anything, and it won’t mean anything until we get closer to the election itself, so I think we’re in a good place.

Speaker Toma speaking to constituents. (bentoma.com)
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Ken Kurson
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