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What you need to know about Tuesday special election to replace Franks

(AP Photo/Toby Brusseau, File)

PHOENIX — Some voters in the Phoenix area will head to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in a special general election to replace former Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Franks.

Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko and Dr. Hiral Tipirneni will be represented on the ballot.

Lesko beat out a dozen candidates to take the Republican seat, while Tipirneni faced one other person in the race for the Democratic seat.

The 8th Congressional District covers much of the western Phoenix suburbs, where a Democrat has not been elected in more than 35 years.

Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s vote.


Why are we voting again?

The election will replace Franks, who resigned his seat in December following allegations that he offered staffers millions of dollars to serve as surrogates.


Who’s running?

Lesko and Tipirneni will represent their respective parties in the election.

Lesko spent nine years in the state Legislature and was the Senate president pro-tempore before resigning in January to pursue the Franks seat.

She had the support of former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer during the special primary election.

Lesko was also embroiled in a scandal regarding the transfer of funds from her state campaign committee for the primary contest.

Despite the scandal, she pulled ahead of 11 other Republican candidates vying for the Congressional District 8 seat, taking home 36 percent of the vote.

Tipirneni, a political newcomer, was an emergency-room physician backed by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords.

Tipirneni only had one other opponent in her race for the Democratic Party seat — Brianna Westbrook — but took an early lead and eventually ended up with 59 percent of the vote. She took home more than 6,200 votes over her opponent.


Where can I vote?

More than 50 polling places will be open on Tuesday.

“It was important the voters in [Congressional District] 8 had a polling place to visit on Election Day if that is how they choose to cast their ballot,” Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman said in a January press release.

Each of the 55 polling places accepting ballots will be staffed by a least six workers who will use electronic poll books, a system to print ballots on demand and a tabulation machine.


How’s turnout?

Garrett Archer, the secretary of state’s senior analyst, said in a tweet that voter turnout was expected to be lower than normal.

Forty-one percent of the estimated total vote was received by the county as of April 13, according to Archer.


When will we know the winner?

That was difficult to say, but it will likely be sometime later Tuesday night. Reagan’s office was expected to begin posting results about 8 p.m.

KTAR News’ Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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