PHOENIX — Thirteen Republicans and three Democrats filed enough signatures to make the ballot for a special primary election to replace former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, state elections officials said Wednesday evening.
The Republicans include former state Sens. Steve Montenegro and Debbie Lesko, former state Rep. Phil Lovas and former state utility regulator Bob Stump. Also making the GOP primary ballot are Clair Van Steenwyk and former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack.
The other seven Republicans are Chad Allen, Kevin Cavanagh, Brenden Dilley, Stephen Dolgos, David Lien, Christopher Sylvester and Mark Yates.
The Democrats are Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, Brianna Westbrook and Gene Scharer. Two Green Party candidates failed to file qualifying signatures by Wednesday evening’s deadline.
The heavily Republican 8th Congressional District covers much of the western and northwestern Phoenix suburbs, and the winner of the GOP primary will be strongly favored to win the seat outright. Democrats are holding out hope that a surge of opposition to President Donald Trump’s policies could drive turnout and give them the chance to pull off a stunning upset.
The special primary election is set for Feb. 27, with each party’s top vote-getter advancing to the general election on April 24.
Only a court challenge to signatures or other qualifications filed by an opponent or outside group would prevent those certified Wednesday from appearing on the ballot.
Franks resigned Dec. 8, saying he had discussed surrogacy with two female staffers. A former aide told The Associated Press that he pressed her to carry his child and offered her $5 million to be a surrogate.
— This story has been corrected to show Tipirneni’s first name is spelled Hiral instead of Hital