GOP scrambles to avert another election dumpster fire

National Republicans are moving to head off another special election fiasco — this time in a deep-red Arizona congressional district teeming with retirees that would never register as even remotely competitive in a normal election year.

Two weeks after the party’s stunning defeat in a conservative district in southwestern Pennsylvania, Republicans are funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into Arizona’s 8th District, which President Donald Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in 2016.

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday launched a coordinated, $170,000 TV buy with the campaign of candidate Debbie Lesko, according to a source familiar with the purchase. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a deep-pocketed GOP super PAC, is planning to spend about $100,000 on a phone and digital effort aimed at turning out conservative voters. Early voting starts on Wednesday.

The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, is spending about $280,000 on a field operation to bolster Lesko. She’s running to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks, an eight-term congressman who resigned from his seat last year after reports that he pressed female aides to serve as a surrogate mother. Trump’s political team is also considering a range of options for getting involved in the race.

Republicans insist the efforts are precautionary and that they fully expect to prevail in an April 24 special election. Two senior party officials who’ve reviewed polling in recent days said Lesko held a double-digit lead.

never register as even remotely competitive in a normal election year.

Two weeks after the party’s stunning defeat in a conservative district in southwestern Pennsylvania, Republicans are funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into Arizona’s 8th District, which President Donald Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in 2016.

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday launched a coordinated, $170,000 TV buy with the campaign of candidate Debbie Lesko, according to a source familiar with the purchase. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a deep-pocketed GOP super PAC, is planning to spend about $100,000 on a phone and digital effort aimed at turning out conservative voters. Early voting starts on Wednesday.

The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, is spending about $280,000 on a field operation to bolster Lesko. She’s running to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks, an eight-term congressman who resigned from his seat last year after reports that he pressed female aides to serve as a surrogate mother. Trump’s political team is also considering a range of options for getting involved in the race.

Republicans insist the efforts are precautionary and that they fully expect to prevail in an April 24 special election. Two senior party officials who’ve reviewed polling in recent days said Lesko held a double-digit lead.

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