Arizona Republicans fear 'another Roy Moore situation' in U.S. House race

Steve Montenegro, candidate for U.S. House in Arizona
(Image credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Voters in Arizona's 8th congressional district will pick their candidates Tuesday for an April 27 special election to replace Rep. Trent Franks (R), who resigned in December after it emerged that he asked two staffers to have a child for him and his wife, through nebulous methods, for $5 million. The suburban Phoenix district is solidly Republican — President Trump won it by 21 points in 2016 — but both of the GOP frontrunners have their own scandals, and some Republicans are worried. Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) is accused of illegally donating $50,000 from her state Senate account to a PAC supporting her congressional campaign, but most of the attention is on the sexting scandal involving former state Sen. Steve Montenegro (R).

Montenegro, a married father and a Christian minister, acknowledged last week that a former Senate aide had sent him a topless photo as part of a months-long exchange of salacious text messages. An attorney for the aide, Stephanie Holford, said Holford had sent several nude photos to Montenegro. The candidate initially denied the claims, but after several newspapers printed excerpts from the text exchange, he told the Washington Examiner that he had not solicited the topless photo and "did not have any inappropriate relationships with this woman."

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