Democratic Party national chair has eye on Arizona special election
PHOENIX — A few upset victories over Republican candidates across the country has Democratic Party leadership hopeful of change in Arizona’s upcoming special election.
“Arizona is becoming a purple state and it’s giving us an opportunity to win,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said Tuesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News.
Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni will face state Sen. Debbie Lesko in the April 24 special general election to replace Trent Franks in Congressional District 8.
The district stretches from New River to Litchfield Park and includes parts of Glendale and Peoria.
“She’s a great candidate. … I think every race is important, that’s why we invested in this race,” Perez said of Tipirneni.
Lesko has been in state politics for several years, serving in the House of Representatives from 2009-2015 before joining the Senate.
“Career politicians haven’t been doing so hot,” Perez said, referring to a Democratic medical examiner’s upset victory in a Wisconsin state Senate race.
Tipirneni, an emergency room physician and a newcomer to politics, has stepped into a race where 41 percent of the 456,363 voters were registered Republicans, according to polling from Data Orbital.
The same poll showed 34 percent of the voters were independents. Democrats made up only 24 percent.
Voters have already begun returning ballots for the special election.
Lesko and Tipirneni won special primary elections in February for the seat Franks gave up in December after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.