An Arizona Republican state senator running in an upcoming special House election on Friday signaled support for an investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE.
State Sen. Debbie Lesko made the comments during a debate with her Democratic opponent, physician Hiral Tipirneni, when asked how much such allegations against the president concern her during her bid to join the GOP congress.
“He needs to address them, obviously. It needs to be investigated,” Lesko said of Trump during the debate televised on KPNX TV in Phoenix.
“I don’t know that he can lead on that issue, but he certainly needs to deal with it and it has to be investigated. I’m not the president and I don’t use his rhetoric, and I’m certainly not going to sexually harass anyone.”
Lesko also noted that she left an abusive husband earlier in her life and wants to be a “testament” to other women to show them abuse doesn’t have to define their future.
During Trump’s presidential campaign, a handful of women accused him of various degrees of sexual misconduct. A video also emerged in October of 2016 showing Trump in 2005 talking about groping women without their consent.
He apologized for the video but denied all allegations of sexual misconduct, denials that have been repeated by the White House since he took office.
Lesko and Tipirneli both won their primaries in February and are battling to replace Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.), who resigned this year after revelations he asked a staffer to be a surrogate for him.
Republicans are still considered the significant favorites in the race for a district that Trump won by 20 points. It’s a solid Republican stronghold in the state that includes a significant retirement community. But Democrats are hopeful that their recent ability to outperform in special elections can make the race competitive.
The special election will be on April 24.
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