Arizona special election features Debbie Lesko, Hiral Tipirneni: What to know about the race


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Arizona’s eighth congressional district hasn’t had a U.S. consultant since December – however that can change after an April particular election.

Republican Debbie Lesko, a former state lawmaker, is dealing with off with Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, a most cancers analysis advocate, to signify the district. The seat was left empty after Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican, resigned in shame on Dec. eight, 2017, following stories of sexual misconduct. Franks reportedly mentioned surrogacy points with feminine aides.

Forward of the particular election, to be held on April 24, right here’s what you could know concerning the candidates and the district.

Debbie Lesko, Republican

FILE - In this April 6, 2017 file photo, Arizona state Sen. Debbie Lesko speaks in the Senate chambers in Phoenix. Two former Republican Arizona lawmakers who are leading candidates to fill a vacant U.S. House seat are embroiled in controversy as Tuesday's special primary election looms. Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko is under fire for transferring $50,000 from her old state Senate campaign fund to an independent group backing her congressional election bid. Former state Sen. Steve Montenegro reportedly received racy text messages from a Senate staffer who isn't his wife. (AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)

Debbie Lesko served as a state senator and consultant for practically 10 years whole.

 (AP Picture/Bob Christie)

When Debbie Lesko displays on her time serving in Arizona politics, she remembers a golf cart parade.

In 2014, then a state consultant, Lesko championed laws that allowed folks to drive golf carts – the popular mode of transportation in giant retirement communities – alongside the aspect of the highway. On the time, greater than 30,000 golf carts had been registered in Maricopa County, Arizona, and as much as 50 % of households in Solar Metropolis, a big retirement group, used a golf cart, in response to the Arizona Republic.

Residents, together with Lesko and then-Gov. Jan Brewer, celebrated with a parade of greater than 100 golf carts.

“I’ve a fame of doing issues that immediately assist my constituents,” Lesko instructed Fox Information. “Folks in my district imagine in every little thing that everybody else within the nation believes in: securing the border … nationwide safety, a superb financial system, good jobs. However in addition they actually care about native points, and I’ve a historical past of serving to them with that.”

A lot of these nationwide points, in response to Lesko’s marketing campaign web site, echo a few of President Trump’s agenda objects, corresponding to constructing a border wall, strengthening the nation’s missile protection program towards potential threats from North Korean chief Kim Jong Un (who her web site calls an “insane madman”) and defending the Second Modification.

Apart from these points, Lesko additionally desires to speak about home violence. She stated she was in a position to depart an abusive husband about 25 years in the past.

“Home violence is a really prevalent drawback, and it could actually occur to anybody. It doesn’t matter what their standing is, what their instructional background is,” she stated. “It occurs to so many ladies, and I simply need them to know they’ll get out of it and develop into profitable, as a result of I did it. I’m dwelling proof of it.”

She has since remarried and has three youngsters.

Lesko first bought into politics together with her native Republican Social gathering, beginning off as a district chairman, an elected volunteer place. She rose by the ranks, turning into a state Republican Social gathering officer earlier than she received a state Home seat. She served as a consultant for six years and as a state senator for 3.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has endorsed Lesko, his workplace confirmed to Fox Information.

Hiral Tipirneni, Democrat

This undated photo shows candidate Hiral Tipirneni, one of two Democrats running in the 8th Congressional District's special election on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, to replace former Rep. Trent Franks, in Arizona. The leading Republicans among a dozen candidates in the GOP stronghold 8th Congressional District that covers much of the western Phoenix suburbs include two former state senators, two former state House members and a talk radio host who pulled in 29 percent of the vote in a 2016 primary challenge to Franks. Two Democrats are seeking their party's nomination, hoping to pull out a longshot win in the April 27 general election. (Celina Medina via AP)

Democrat Hiral Tipirneni works in most cancers analysis, a difficulty that she is personally obsessed with.

 (Celina Medina through AP)

A former emergency room doctor, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni has devoted her profession to most cancers analysis after the demise of her mom and nephew. And it’s the abilities she developed as a physician – working along with a bunch of numerous folks with completely different views to assist sufferers – that she desires to take to Washington.

Tipirneni is aware of that she is operating as a Democrat in a conservative district, however she doesn’t dwell on that. For her, it’s not a couple of political celebration a lot as it’s about representing the district.

“One of many massive causes I made a decision to run is I’m so pissed off by the dearth of ahead progress, divisiveness and standing solely on a partisan [ground],” Tipirneni instructed Fox Information.

“I’m seeking to deliver folks collectively to the desk to have a dialog,” she continued. “A whole lot of of us really feel alienated. I’d battle on their behalf and never battle about ideology.”

Her marketing campaign web site pushes for extra bipartisan options to hot-button points. For instance, on the Second Modification, Tipirneni says she helps the rights of “law-abiding Individuals to acquire firearms by authorized channels to guard their properties, themselves and their households, and for searching and sport.” However she additionally helps “commonsense gun reform,” corresponding to eliminating sure background verify loopholes.

The highest of the Second Modification part on Tipirneni’s web site declares: “When progressives and conservatives work collectively, we will accomplish nice issues.”

Whereas Tipirneni has volunteered on different campaigns, that is her first foray into politics. She stated she isn’t “seeking to construct [her] political resume” however simply desires to assist these in her district.

“The explanation I’m doing it is because I’m a constituent as effectively on this district, and I’ve spent a few years pissed off, feeling that I don’t have a voice in D.C.,” she stated.

Alongside together with her husband, Tipirneni has three youngsters. Her daughters are in faculty, and her son is in highschool. Tipirneni additionally serves on the board of administrators for the Maricopa Well being Basis.

The district

The eighth congressional district features a small space simply outdoors of Phoenix. Within the 2016 presidential election, President Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 21 % within the district, in response to statistics offered by the Arizona secretary of state’s workplace.

The district can also be dwelling to Solar Metropolis – the expansive and “unique” retirement group.

There are greater than 455,000 registered voters within the district: 187,129 Republicans, 109,555 Democrats and 154,764 voters not registered to a celebration. Franks didn’t face a Democratic challenger in 2016 or 2014.

Gabby Giffords, a Democrat who survived an assassination try in 2011, represented the eighth district for 5 years till she resigned a 12 months after the assault. Nevertheless, on account of redistricting within the state, the panorama of the eighth district has since modified. 

Points to look out for

Immigration: Unlawful immigration is a big problem for voters within the eighth district, in response to Lesko.

“[Illegal] immigration, simply naturally as a result of we’re a border state, prices our state some huge cash. Persons are pissed off that – a minimum of beneath the Obama administration – the federal authorities was not securing the border,” Lesko stated.

Lesko says on her marketing campaign web site that she’s “dedicated to working with President Trump” to safe the border.

For Tipirneni, immigration is a “actually private” problem, as she and her dad and mom emigrated to the U.S. from India.

“I passionately imagine that we should stay a land of alternative for many who are prepared to work for it,” she says on her marketing campaign web site.

“We ALL deserve an accountable immigration system offering a transparent, inexpensive path to citizenship for many who qualify and have earned it. We additionally want safe borders. Whereas these two concepts shouldn’t be mutually unique, our present local weather politicizes a difficulty that, at its core, has actual lives at stake,” the location reads.

Tipirneni requires an answer for DACA and complete immigration reform. She stated she is against Trump’s proposed border wall as she believes the funds for it “can be higher spent in the direction of securing our border in different methods.”

Well being care: Voters within the district, significantly senior residents, are involved about well being care, together with the way forward for Medicare and the state’s Medicaid program, Arizona Well being Care Price Containment System (AHCCCS).

Tipirneni stated that as she’s knocked on doorways throughout her marketing campaign up to now, many individuals have expressed concern about well being care points – significantly Medicare.

Tipirneni’s platform contains well being care reform, together with increasing Medicare to a youthful client base. She acknowledged the Reasonably priced Care Act has “severe flaws [that] have to be addressed if we’re to enhance entry to well being care right this moment in addition to generations to come back.”

Drew Anderson, senior communications adviser for the Arizona Democratic Social gathering, instructed Fox Information that voters are “merely fed up” with Republicans’ “chaotic techniques to tear away their well being care alternatives, together with entry to Medicare and Arizona’s AHCCCS.”

Whereas Medicaid and Medicare points should not listed on her marketing campaign web site, a part of Lesko’s platform features a dedication to “vote to ban any federal funding for abortion or infanticide.”

“I am a robust believer that life begins at conception and we should defend essentially the most susceptible amongst us,” she stated.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox Information. Observe her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

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