Pictured: Democratic nominee for congressional district 8, Hiral Tipirneni, whose campaign raised almost $70,000 more than Lekso’s campaign as of April 13.
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Tipirneni gains momentum in last week of CD8 special elections, outraises Lesko


Tara Alatorre

PHOENIX – The special election for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District takes place on April 24, which will determine if GOP nominee Debbie Lesko, or Democratic political newcomer, Hiral Tipirneni, will take former Rep. Trent Franks’ seat, who resigned amidst sexual harassment allegations in December.

The district largely covers the north and west parts of the Phoenix Valley including New River, Cave Creek, Peoria and other suburbs, and the winner of this race will have to run in the general elections again this upcoming November.

The seat has historically been filled by a Republican so Lesko is largely favored in the race on Tuesday, but Democrats are hoping it will be an upset for the GOP, which has recently seen losses in long held conservative districts in Alabama and Pennsylvania.

Tiperneni, who has worked as a physician for 20 years and served on the board of directors of the Maricopa Health Foundation, says she sees the Affordable Care Act [ACA] passed by the Obama administration as an improvement. She is also an advocate of expanding Arizona’s Medicaid program and of universal healthcare.
(Pictured: Republican nominee for congressional district 8, Debbie Lesko, who resigned as a state senator to run in the CD8 election.)

Lesko is the complete opposite of her opponent on the matter of healthcare and she favors a free-market for health insurance, and recently stated that she would repeal Obamacare if elected.

Lesko, who recently resigned from her seat as a State Senator for Legislative District 21, so she could run in the special election, was a supporter of the bill that allowed a state voucher system for private tuition. Meanwhile Tiperneni’s says she supports investing in teachers and the public-school system.

The two nominees have contrasting views on taxes, gun safety and the border as well, with both women’s views being essentially aligned with their respective political parties.

A recent poll by OH Predictive Insights and ABC15 found Lesko leading the race by about 10 percentage points last week.

However, campaign finance records showed that Tiperneni outraised Lesko as of Friday, April 13, earning about $67,000 more than her opponent.

The democrat gained her financial advantage mostly through small donors, but also recently received support from healthcare activist Ady Barkan, who launched a six-figure ad campaign supporting her bid for congress. 

Barkan's group Be A Hero plans on supporting Democratic candidates across the nation, starting with Tiperneni. Barkan’s group, Be A Hero plans on supporting Democratic candidates across the nation, starting with Tiperneni’s campaign in CD8.

Lesko primarily earned her money largely through special interest political action committees.  She also received $2,700 from former Rep. Franks, the maximum permitted under election laws, the Arizona Republic recently reported.

If you would like to learn more about the candidates visit hiralforcongress.com or debbieleskoforcongress.com.  For more information on polling locations or ballots visit, https://recorder.maricopa.gov/elections/CD8electioninformation.aspx.