The Latest: GOP winner of Arizona primary eyes April contest

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on the special primary election for a U.S. Congressional District seat in Arizona (all times local):

2 p.m.

A former Arizona state senator who won the Republican primary in a special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks in the suburbs west of Phoenix is now looking toward the general election in April.

Debbie Lesko on Tuesday beat 11 other Republicans who are already rallying behind her to ensure their party holds onto the 8th Congressional District. That’s even true for former Sen. Steve Montenegro, who was dogged by revelations he received sexually provocative text messages from a legislative aide.

Lesko said Wednesday that voters have long known her work in civic affairs in the area northwest of Arizona’s state capital.

Franks resigned in December after acknowledging he discussed surrogacy with two female staffers and one told The Associated Press he offered her $5 million to carry his child.

12:10 a.m.

The Republican winner of a special primary election to replace a disgraced Arizona congressman is the immediate favorite to win the U.S. House seat.

Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko handily beat 11 other Republicans in Tuesday’s primary. One of her two closest challengers was former state Sen. Steve Montenegro, who was embroiled in a sexting scandal in the days before the election. Lesko also faced allegations of campaign finance irregularities.

Lesko will face Democratic nominee Hiral Tipirneni in an April 24 special election. The district is heavily Republican.

Whoever wins will replace former Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned after he acknowledged discussing surrogacy with two female staffers.

Early returns showed Lesko had 36 percent of the vote while Montenegro and former state House member Phil Lovas had only 24 percent.

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