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Tipirneni offers Lesko invitation to debate in public forum

(AP and Facebook photos)

PHOENIX — Democratic Dr. Hiral Tipernini invited Wednesday former state Sen. Debbie Lesko, her opponent in an April special election, to a debate in a public forum.

“There were several forums for all the candidates in the Democratic special primary, and I know voters appreciated hearing directly from us,” Tipirneni said in a release.

The pair were already scheduled to take part in televised debates on Friday and Monday. However, Tipirneni said she wanted the chance for the public to see the debate firsthand.

“We owe the voters every opportunity to learn as much as they can about our candidacies, and that is why we need a community debate that is free and open to the public, not hidden away in a TV studio,” she said.

“No such debate is currently scheduled, so I am calling for one.”

A campaign spokesman for Lesko said the former state senator was planning to stick to the televised debates.

“Debbie Lesko looks forward to debating Ms. Tipirneni,” the spokesman said. “Maybe Ms. Tipirneni isn’t used to TV studios but there’s no place to hide on live TV.”

The spokesman added that the televised debate would reach more of the electorate than one held before the public.

Tipirneni and Lesko will face off against one another in the April 24 special general election to replace former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks.