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Democrats vying for vacant Arizona congressional seat will debate at

Two Democrats trying to bring new competitiveness to West Valley congressional politics will debate Thursday night. It will be live streamed on Facebook and

The debate at The Arizona Republic and comes a week before early voting begins in the special primary election to fill the seat formerly held by Trent Franks, a Republican who quit last month after facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

The hour-long event will start at 7 p.m. and feature Hiral Tipirneni, a physician, and Brianna Westbrook, a political activist.

On Wednesday, The Republic hosted a debate for five of the Republican candidates —former state Sen. Debbie Lesko, former state Rep. Phil Lovas, former state Sen. Steve Montenegro, former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump and talk-show host Clair Van Steenwyk. Watch it here.

MORE:  5 takeaways: Franks’ surprise resignation 

Franks’ abrupt departure has created the first competitive election in that district since he first won the seat in 2002. Republicans hold a 17 percentage-point advantage among registered voters, but Democrats are contesting the special election and see it as an opportunity to show broader enthusiasm ahead of the congressional midterms this fall.

The district reaches from New River to the Sun Cities and includes Glendale, Peoria and Luke Air Force Base. 

Early voting begins Jan. 31 and voting at the polls is scheduled for Feb. 27. Winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries will face off in an April 24 special election.

TALKING POLITICS: Listen to our Arizona politics podcast, The Gaggle, on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher or Google Play.


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