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The Latest: Petition reviews for 2 seeking Franks’ seat

January 19, 2018

FILE - In this March 24, 2017 file photo, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. speaks with a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington, as the House nears a vote on their health care overhaul. Thirteen Republicans and three Democrats filed enough signatures to make the ballot for a special primary election to replace former U.S. Rep. Franks, state elections officials said Wednesday evening, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on challenges to the right of 2 Democratic candidates to appear on the 2nd Congressional District ballot (all times local):

4 p.m.

Maricopa County elections officials are reviewing qualifying signatures for two Democratic candidates seeking to replace Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Franks.

The review began Friday after a judge set a hearing for next week on the challenge to signatures qualifying Brianna Westbrook and Gene Scharer for the ballot. A hearing is set for Tuesday.

Westbrook filed 135 more signatures than the required 665, while Scharer filed just one extra.

They are being challenged by a backer of the Democratic candidate, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni.

None of the 12 Republican candidates’ who are on the ballot attracted signature challenges.

Ballots have already been mailed to overseas military voters, making a successful court challenge problematic.

The primary election is Feb. 27, followed by an April 24 general election.

Franks resigned amid sexual harassment allegations last month.

1 a.m.

Two of three Democrats running in the special primary election to replace former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks are facing lawsuits challenging their right to appear on the ballot.

The suits filed Thursday allege Brianna Westbrook and Gene Scharer are ineligible because many of their qualifying signatures are invalid. Westbrook blames her opponent’s “personal wealth” for the effort to sideline her campaign.

The other Democrat is Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. The lawsuits were filed by Tipirneni supporter Lynda Vescio.

None of the 12 Republican candidates’ signatures were challenged by Thursday’s deadline. A thirteenth GOP candidate withdrew.

Ballots have already been mailed to overseas military voters, making a successful court challenge problematic.

The primary election is Feb. 27, followed by an April 24 general election.

Franks resigned amid sexual harassment allegations last month.

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