Tipirneni Primary

Hiral Tipirneni, an Indian American Democrat running for office in Arizona's 8th Congressional District, won the Feb. 27 special election primary to advance to the general election where she will face Republican Debbie Lesko. (Hiral Tipirneni/Facebook photo)

Hiral Tipirneni, an Indian American physician who last year began her focus on running for Congress, won the Feb. 27 special election Democratic primary for Arizona's 8th Congressional District.

Tipirneni tallied 21,703 votes for 59.6 percent in easily defeating Brianna Westbrook — who earned 14,701 votes for 40.4 percent — by 7,002 votes.

On the Republican side of the primary, Debbie Lesko won the packed, 12-candidate race with 25,508 votes for 35.8 percent. Phil Lovas and Steve Montenegro were the next closest to Lesko with 23.9 percent and 23.8 percent of the vote, respectively.

The Indian American physician has focused her run on healthcare with a concentration on Medicare. Outside of that, she has said she would like to make sure the elderly have retirement security, and improve public education, jobs and the economy.

On a broader scope, Tipirneni, who is running a campaign with a group of enthusiastic youths and retired community members, said the nation’s capital needs to become more focused on the task at hand.

Tipirneni noted that the American people want things done in Washington, D.C., and they deserve it. If elected, she said she would work on righting the ship.

The candidate did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tipirneni, who has lived in the 8th Congressional District for more than two decades, had initially focused her run for office to challenge incumbent Rep. Trent Franks, telling India-West in a 2017 interview that “I don’t feel that my needs or my community’s needs have been addressed or heard" (see India-West article here).

But that all changed when Franks vacated his seat amid accusations that he offered an aide $5 million to be a surrogate mother.

The general election is set for April 24. Win or lose, the seat will be up for election again later this year, with the primary to be held Aug. 28 and the general Nov. 6.

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