It is unclear exactly why Franks is stepping down, but one Arizona Republican said there had been rumors of inappropriate behavior. He's a staunch social conservative who sponsored House-passed legislation to make it a crime for any person to perform an abortion if the age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and Judiciary Committee. On Thursday evening, a group of conservative House Republicans gathered around Franks on the floor and prayed with him.
Franks was first elected in 2002 and considered a 2012 Senate bid before deciding against it. The primary election is to be held no less than 80 and no more than 90 days after the vacancy occurs.