- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - Former state Rep. Phil Lovas is jumping into the special election race to replace U.S. Rep. Trent Franks.

Wednesday’s announcement from the Peoria Republican means at least three well-known GOP candidates are vying for the seat Franks vacated last week amid sexual harassment allegations.

State Sen. Steve Montenegro and former utility regulator Bob Stump announced their runs Monday after the special election dates were set for Feb. 27 and April 24. Several lesser-known GOP candidates have filed for the office and others are expected in the heavily-Republican district covering the northwest Phoenix suburbs.

Lovas left the state House early this year for a job in the Trump Administration after overseeing the president’s 2016 Arizona campaign operations. He stepped down from the Small Business Administration post on Monday.

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