Former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon launched a campaign Tuesday to regain the seat he left in 2001. Salmon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994, leaving after making a pledge to serve only three two-year terms.
Salmon is expected to be one of many Republicans running for the 6th Congressional District, which includes Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek and much of Chandler and Mesa.
Salmon gained prominence in the U.S. House for leading a revolt against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and for honoring his self-imposed term limit. He launched an unsuccessful run for the governor’s office against Janet Napolitano in 2002, chaired the Arizona Republican Party from 2005 to 2007 and then moved his family to Washington, D.C., for a lobbying job.
Salmon played a key role in securing the release of U.S.-based academic researcher Song Yongyi from detention in China on spying charges in 2000. President Bill Clinton sent Salmon, who speaks Madarin, to lead a U.S. delegation to meet China’s president. After Salmon spoke with the Chinese leader, Yongyi was released.
Also, Salmon was a key player in passing “Aimee’s Law,” which punishes states that release rapists, murderers and child molesters who later commit crimes elsewhere.
Salmon was succeeded in Congress by Rep. Jeff Flake, who is leaving to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by the retiring Jon Kyl.