Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb announced Tuesday he’s running for senate. That make Lamb the first republican to jump into a high-profile race for the seat now held by Democratic-turned-Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

I spoke to Lamb on a video call this afternoon. He tells me the tragic death of his son and granddaughter in a car crash last December is a big reason why he’s running for Senate:

“We were just so blessed with the outpouring of love and support from the people of Arizona. We just felt really compelled to give back and we think this is a great way to give back to the people of Arizona. “We know that they need someone to represent them and represent them well. I’m looking forward to hopefully being that person. “Washington needs a new Sheriff in town.”

The border is a main theme of Lamb’s campaign launch video, presenting him as a lawman with firsthand experience taking on dangerous cartels and confronting the fentanyl scourge.

“Being able to continue to fight this border crisis, hopefully address the economy issues that we’re seeing,” Lamb told me. “I just paid $5 for gas yesterday. Five dollars a gallon. This is crushing families not just in Arizona but across this country. Being able to uphold the rule of law. These are the things I look forward to doing.”

The race in Arizona is a top target for Republicans, who are trying to take control of the upper house of Congress in 2024.

Democrats currently hold a 51-49 advantage, and that includes Sinema and two other Independents who generally vote with the Democratic party.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who Arizona’s Third Congressional Districta relatively small district geographically speaking, but representing large numbers from Maricopa Countyannounced his bid for Senate in January.

Gallego issued a response to Lamb’s candidacy Tuesday:

“Arizonans deserve serious candidates who respect our democracy and rule of law. Luckily, there’s still plenty of time for the GOP to produce one. “Mark Lamb is just another reality TV personality trying to cash in. I’m in this race to serve the people of Arizona.”

With Lamb’s announcement Tuesday, it’s likely going to be a three-way race for Sinema’s seat in 2024. Sources indicate she’s currently raising reelection funds, but has yet to announce her intention to seek a second term.

Lamb says he’s well aware Republicans have struggled in recent state-wide elections.

“We’ve got to do better. I think that we’ve got to do better as a party. We’ve got to do a better job of really encompassing everybody in the party, but also Independents and Democrats and really talk about what we’re going to do for the people of Arizona,” Lamb said. “That’s what I’m excited about.”