Arizona’s 8th congressional district hasn’t had a U.S. representative since December – but that will change after an April special election. Republican Debbie Lesko, a former state lawmaker, is facing off with Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, a cancer research advocate, to represent the district. The seat was left empty after Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican, resigned in disgrace on Dec. 8, 2017, following reports of sexual misconduct. Franks reportedly discussed surrogacy issues with female aides. The special election, will be held on April 24th.
A recent poll of district voters by Emerson College shows Tipirneni leading Lesko by a 46-45 margin, according to a NYmag.com report. Previous polls of the race had Lesko leading by double digits, it said.
A former emergency room physician, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni has dedicated her career to cancer research after the death of her mother and nephew. And it’s the skills she developed as a doctor – working together with a group of diverse people with different perspectives to help patients – that she wants to take to Washington.
Tipirneni knows that she is running as a Democrat in a conservative district, but she doesn’t dwell on that. For her, it’s not about a political party so much as it is about representing the district.
“One of the big reasons I decided to run is I’m so frustrated by the lack of forward progress, divisiveness and standing solely on a partisan [ground],” Tipirneni told Fox News.
“I’m looking to bring people together to the table to have a conversation,” she continued. “A lot of folks feel alienated. I would fight on their behalf and not fight about ideology.”
Her campaign website pushes for more bipartisan solutions to hot-button issues. For example, on the Second Amendment, Tipirneni says she supports the rights of “law-abiding Americans to obtain firearms through legal channels to protect their homes, themselves and their families, and for hunting and sport.” But she also supports “commonsense gun reform,” such as eliminating certain background check loopholes.
The top of the Second Amendment section on Tipirneni’s site declares: “When progressives and conservatives work together, we can accomplish great things.”
While Tipirneni has volunteered on other campaigns, this is her first foray into politics. She said she isn’t “looking to build [her] political resume” but just wants to help those in her district.
“The reason I’m doing this is because I am a constituent as well in this district, and I’ve spent many years frustrated, feeling that I don’t have a voice in D.C.,” she said.