Democrat-turned-Republican state Sen. Carlyle W. Begay has announced he is entering a crowded field for the GOP nomination for the open seat in Arizona's 1st Congressional District.
Begay is a Navajo appointed to fill a legislative vacancy in 2013. He won election to legislative term of his own in 2014 as a Democrat. He switched his party registration in 2015 after earlier in the year breaking party ranks to back a Republican-drafted state budget.
He announced his congressional candidacy Monday, joining six other Republicans in the 1st District race, along with three Democrats and an independent.
Begay previously denied having plans to run for Congress.
Incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick is running for U.S. Senate.
The sprawling 1st District includes Flagstaff, the Navajo Nation and most of Pinal County.