The next big congressional special election will take place in Arizona’s 8th district on April 24th, to fill the seat left by disgraced former GOP Rep. Trent Franks in the wake of several sexual harassment allegations. It’s normally considered a safely red seat, but as we’ve seen, this year, anything can happen.
In a closely contested primary, Democrats ultimately chose Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, an emergency room physician and cancer researcher who emigrated to the United States from India with her family when she was just three years old. As you might expect, she’s strong on issues like healthcare — she wants a public option for Medicare buy-in — and immigration, which is a hot point of contention in Arizona.
She overcame a strong grassroots campaign by local activist Brianna Westbrook, who was making a bid to become the first transgender member of Congress. Westbrook took in nearly 40% of the vote on a platform that included single-payer healthcare, and got a lot of traction both on the ground and on the internet during her campaign.
Instead of letting any lingering rivalry continue, Tipirneni and Westbrook are coming together in order to continue to build the Democratic momentum. Westbrook has endorsed Tipirneni and is working to get her elected. In turn, Westbrook has shifted her sights and is now running for State Senate in Legislative District 22, a campaign that Tipirneni has promised to back.
Here’s a nice, uplifting look at Tipirneni’s campaign:
We should note the Republican that Tipirneni is facing is… well, she doesn’t seem all that kind. In a recent debate, Debbie Lesko just regurgitated bad GOP talking points, suggesting “free healthcare” was fiscally irresponsible and backing the construction of Trump’s Wall. She’d be another far-right drone for the extremist Republican Party, a warm body with a cold heart.
Tipirneni and Westbrook’s alliance is more than just a nice story about two women coming together to help one another (though that’s a crucial element). Local Democrats are energized and actively working to build the party in Arizona, which has trended red but has the demographics to turn blue.