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Challenge to Democrat running for Franks’ seat dropped

January 23, 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 court challenges to Democratic candidates seeking former U.S. Trent Franks’ seat (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

A lawsuit challenging signatures qualifying a Democratic candidate for a special congressional election will be dropped.

Attorney Jim Barton said Monday the challenge against his client, Brianna Westbrook, will be withdrawn. That comes after the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office determined she has enough signatures.

Westbrook’s nominating petitions and those of Democrat Gene Scharer were challenged by a supporter of the third Democrat who qualified for the ballot, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. Court hearings had been set for Tuesday.

The check shows Scharer has just 353 of the 665 needed signatures.

Twelve Republican candidates are also seeking the 8th Congressional District seat. Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Franks resigned last month amid sexual harassment allegations.

The special primary election is Feb. 27 and the general election is April 24.

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10:54 a.m.

Maricopa County elections officials say they’ve completed reviews of signatures qualifying two Democratic candidates for a special congressional election ballot and one falls well short.

The review of signatures challenged by a third Democratic candidate shows Gene Scharer has just 353 of the 665 needed signatures.

The Maricopa County Recorder certified Monday that Brianna Westbrook has 669 valid signatures, four above the threshold.

The signatures were challenged in court by a backer of the third Democratic candidate, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. Court hearings are set for Tuesday.

Twelve Republican candidates are also seeking the seat vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Franks when he resigned last month amid sexual harassment allegations.

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

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