Rep. Walt Blackman, R-Ariz., announced he will be seeking a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Congressional District 1.
Blackman didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time Wednesday, but in recent weeks the Snowflake local has made several posts to social media regarding a run for Congress and asking for donations.
The seat is currently filled by self-styled moderate Democrat Rep. Tom O’Halleran, who this past year won reelection against Republican challenger Tiffany Shedd.
Blackman’s announcement came as the State of Arizona is in the midst of a redistricting process following the 2020 census.
District 1 currently covers most of the eastern part of the state, stretching from the Utah border to the outskirts of Tucson. The district includes all of Coconino, Navajo, Apache, Graham and Greenlee counties as well as parts of Yavapai, Gila, Pinal and Pima counties.
But it's anybody's guess exactly how the district might look after the redistricting effort is over. Because of population growth, Arizona is expected to receive one additional district; all districts are drawn up by a bipartisan commission.
Blackman just last year won his second term in the Arizona House representing Legislative District 6, which includes Flagstaff, beating out Democratic challenger Coral Evans and Independent Art Babbott.
Blackman first announced his intention to run for Congress during a rally in Queen Creek earlier this month. During the rally, he said he came to the decision to run for Congress after prayer and speaking to his wife.
“She said, 'You better do what God told you to do.' That’s why I’m running for Congress.
"We need the type of people in Congress who will stand up to those who want to tear down our country. We need the type of people in Congress that will look them in the face and say [...] 'I am an American,' and I will make sure that you hear that. The people I represent will make sure that you hear it. And, by golly, if you don’t hear it, watch out, because we're coming to get you,” Blackman told the crowd.
Blackman has been among several northern Arizona politicians who have continued to cast doubts on the 2020 presidential election, even months after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and after an insurrection attempted to keep former President Donald Trump in office in January.
And that continued during the rally in Queen Creek, during which Blackman said he didn’t serve in the military and fight in the Middle East only to come back and doubt whether his vote supporting Trump had counted.
“President Trump was a gift from God to us and when they did not certify him as the president, God said to us, ‘I will be with you as I was with President Trump,’” Blackman said during the rally.