The field to replace former Rep. Trent Franks (R) is developing quickly.
Former Trump appointee Phil Lovas (R) resigned his current post in the Small Business Administration “without explanation and announced it over Twitter” ahead of a likely run for former Franks’ (R) seat. “Campaign consultant Brian Seitchik said Lovas ‘would have more to say about his future later in the week.’ State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt praised him as a “great choice for voters.” (KJZZ)
Meanwhile, motivational speaker Travis Angry (R) announced his run for the seat on Monday. He’s a military veteran and a cancer survivor. (Twitter)
ON BOARD. And state Sen. Steve Montenegro (R) notched an endorsement from Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (release)
BY THE NUMBERS. An ABC 15/OH Predictive Insights poll, “conducted Monday among likely Republican special primary voters, shows” former state Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Stump (R) “with the early lead and the most name recognition among a potentially crowded field.” Stump won 18 percent of the vote in the IVR survey (Dec. 10; 400 LVs; +- 4.89%), in which 37 percent were still undecided. State Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) “would get 16 percent of the vote.” County Commissioner Clint Hickman (R) “would capture 15 percent of the vote.” State Sen. Kimberly Yee (R) “would get seven percent. Aside from Stump, none of the other top potential candidates have formally declared their candidacy.”
“Sixty-three percent of GOP voters say a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to vote for a candidate. Forty-three percent of voters say a Franks endorsement would make them more likely to support a candidate.” (ABC 15)
RESIGN TO RUN. “The unusual timing of Franks’ resignation would surely trigger Arizona’s ‘resign to run’ law, said elections lawyer Tim La Sota, a former state Republican Party general counsel. That’s because a Jan. 10 deadline for filing nomination petitions is less than a year before the current legislative terms end on Jan. 14, 2019.” Montenegro, who launched a bid Monday, plans to resign. (KJZZ)
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"A senior FBI official overseeing a government task force that addresses Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections has left the government for a job in the private sector, a departure that comes just months ahead of the 2018 midterm contests. Jeffrey Tricoli had been coleading the FBI foreign influence task force until June, when he left government work for a senior vice president job at Charles Schwab Corp. , the company confirmed."
German foreign minister Heiko Maas "said on Monday Europe could not rely on Donald Trump and needed to close ranks after the U.S. president called the European Union a 'foe' with regard to trade." He added: "To maintain our partnership with the USA we must readjust it. The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe.”
"The mercurial veteran GOP political operative, Roger Stone, has acknowledged that he is the unnamed Trump campaign regular who corresponded with an alleged Russian hacker, as described in a new indictment against a dozen Russians returned Friday by a federal grand jury." He told ABC News that he previously admitted to the contact to House investigators. He called the correspondence "benign."