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Trent Franks, Joe Arpaio endorse Arizona senator for Franks’ old seat

(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — A member of the Arizona Senate who announced his candidacy for former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks’ seat has two endorsements under his belt: One from the former congressman and another from former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sen. Steve Montenegro announced he was running for Franks’ seat on Monday, saying in a video that “serving the people in the 8th Congressional District will allow us to fight for everything that matters.”

In an earlier Facebook Live video, Montenegro said that Franks asked him to run, calling it an “honor” and “really special.”

“Many of the battles that we have won in the state of Arizona are battles that he wants me to go win in Congress,” he added.

In an email released Monday afternoon, Montenegro said Arpaio, touted in the announcement as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” had also endorsed his campaign for Congress.

“I’ve worked with and respected Senator Steve Montenegro for years. Steve has supported me in my fight against illegal immigration, he has always supported law enforcement, and he cast the tough votes we needed in the legislature,” Arpaio said.

“If you know him, you know he has character and heart, but Steve Montenegro also has the guts and backbone we need in Congress, and he’ll show those wimps back there how it needs to be done.  I’m supporting him and I hope you will too.”

Montenegro is just one of the many names in the already-crowded race for the House of Representatives seat.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Monday that the special primary election for the seat will be held on Feb. 27, with the general on April 24.

RELATED: How special election will work

Franks resigned effective immediately last week, one day after the Arizona representative originally announced that he would resign at the end of January after he said he had surrogacy discussions with several staffers.

In a statement, Franks said he made the decision to resign after his wife was admitted to the hospital in Washington, D.C. “due to an ongoing ailment.”

“After discussing options with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effective today.”

Despite the resignation, Franks said he “never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.”

But Politico reported that the aides were “concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them.”

Franks also allegedly “tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone.”

An aide for the Arizona representative also believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks when he allegedly offered her $5 million to carry his child.

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