Voters chose the final Congressional candidates Aug. 4 for the November elections.
In the 8th Congressional District, the winners of the primary were Democrat Michael Muscato and Republican Debbie Lesko, the incumbent.
Muscato became the Democratic candidate after winning with 32,892 votes, which was 53% of the vote. His opponent Robert “Bob” Olsen was the runner-up with 19,218 votes taking up 31% of the vote, and Bob Musselwhite came in third with 15% of the vote totaling 8,990 votes.
Moscato said he is “honored” to receive the nomination from the district in which he was born and raised.
“The nomination—knowing they support who I am and what I’ve stood for and what they’ve raised—it means a lot.”
Moscato has never been elected for office, but he was the 2016 Democratic nominee for State Senate District 22.
Lesko received 100% of the vote with 95,726 votes, as she ran unopposed, but she still feels grateful to be moving on to the general election.
“I thank God and the voters for the overwhelming support I received from the voters,” she said. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to represent the West and North valleys in Congress, and I hope to be given that privilege again.”
Lesko has served in public office for the past 11 years. She started in Arizona’s state House of Representatives for six years, then served in the state Senate for three years and has spent the last two years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lesko originally joined the U.S. House of Representatives after filling a vacant seat in May 2018 before being voted into a full term in November 2018.
Moving forward, Lesko said she plans to continue her support for freedom, the military and law enforcement, whereas Muscato said he will focus on immigration reform, health care and education.
Both candidates are feeling good about their chances for November.
Lesko said, “I’m feeling confident going into the general election and will continue to work hard to earn my constituents’ vote. Serving, helping and meeting with my constituents is my No. 1 priority. People in our district know that I have been involved in our community for years. … People know that I care.”
Muscato explained he has seen a lot of support from all sides—including Democrats, independents and Republicans—but he knows there are still people to reach.
“We’re going to focus on outreach to the independent voters who are tired of both political parties, and we’re going to reach out to the Republican voters who are disenfranchised from the lack of representation or the misrepresentation from the current administration and my opponent,” he said.
Muscato said he thinks Lesko has not been doing the job of serving the people.
“She’s been in office now for more than a decade as an Arizona representative,” he said. “Things have not gotten better and gotten worse in a lot of aspects, so it’s time to replace the person in office with someone who’s going to do the work.”
Moreover, he said, “The job of Congress is to actually do the job. It is not to be a campaign member for the president’s reelection campaign; it is not to talk about everything and anything but what’s happening here in the district.”
Muscato continued that people should not count him out of this race, because he is here for the people.
“I am here to represent everyone—Republicans, independents and Democrats—whereas my opponent has made it very clear that she dismisses the Democrats and the Democratic Party and she dismisses anyone who doesn’t agree with the White House administration,” he said.
Lesko said she focuses on the Republican Party’s goals because that’s what Arizonans want.
“Republicans, like myself, believe in protecting our personal freedoms,” she said. “At the end of the day, Arizonans want smaller government, lower taxes, increased economic opportunity and communities that are safe. That’s what the Republican Party stands for and what I will continue to support.”
Voters can decide who they would like to see represent them in Congress for the next two years on Nov. 3.