PHOENIX — A judge has removed a Democratic candidate from the special primary election ballot for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

State Elections Director Eric Spencer says the judge removed Gene Scharer Tuesday. The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office determined he had just 353 of the required 665 signatures.

A challenge to Democrat Brianna Westbrook’s signatures was dropped after a review found she had enough signatures. The signatures were challenged by a backer of the third Democratic candidate, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni.

The county must now mail or email 151 new Democrat ballots to overseas military voters. Early ballots for the Feb. 27 primary will be mailed Jan. 31.

The special general election to replace former Republican Rep. Trent Franks is April 24. He resigned last month.

Twelve Republican candidates are also seeking Franks’ seat.

— This story has been corrected to show the district is the 8th, not the 2nd.