Former state Senate President Pro Tempore Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) won the GOP special primary last night and now becomes the heavy favorite to replace resigned Rep. Trent Franks (R-Peoria) in the April 24th special general election. Ms. Lesko attracted 36% of the closed Republican primary vote. Ex-state Rep. Phil Lovas (R-Glendale) and former state Sen. Steve Montenegro (R-Surprise), whose sex texting messages to a state Senate staff member came into the public view during the campaign, both finished with 24% of the vote. Former Public Service Commissioner Bob Stump, no relation to the late US Rep. Bob Stump (R-AZ) who served 26 years in the House, finished with just 5% of the vote.
Democrats easily nominated physician Hiral Tipirneni to advance into the special general. She scored a 60-40% victory over auto sales manager and LGBT activist Brianna Westbrook. Over 36,000 people voted in the Democratic primary, a large increase over past similar elections. But, Republican turnout topped 71,000, thus reflecting the majority party’s large advantage here.
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