Republican Wins Arizona Seat Despite Tough Fight From Democrat

Republican Wins Arizona Seat Despite Tough Fight From Democrat”

Early results show Debbie Lesko defeating Hiral Tipirneni by a surprisingly small margin in today's special election to replace Trent Franks in Congressional District 8. Among those who have voted early, 49 percent are Republicans to 28 percent who are Democrats. Those results are likely to change as in-person Election Day ballots are counted.

Democrats outperformed Republicans in the red-leaning district by 19 percentage points, based on FiveThirtyEight's analysis that the district leans red by 25 percentage points.

Republican donor Dan Eberhart said in an email that Lesko's win means that while the Republican brand can still win House seats this cycle, there is little room for error.

Another Tuesday, another stronger-than-normal performance for Democrats in special elections. Arizona's 8th Congressional District has all the hallmarks of a place Republicans should easily win and there are around 78,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats in the area. Lesko will serve out the remainder of Franks's term.

Both Lesko and Tipirneni have faced negative press lately. "Twenty five years ago, I left an abusive husband and I sure as heck never would have dreamed in a million years that I would be running for Congress and be a congresswoman".

Tipirneni said she would not concede on Tuesday night.

"Something is happening here".

However, Lesko had not escaped controversy: She has brushed off complaints made to the Federal Election Commission that she broke campaign finance laws during the primary by transferring $50,000 from her state campaign to an independent group that spent almost all the cash backing her congressional run. Meanwhile, Democratic groups largely stayed on the sidelines, though Tipirneni outraised Lesko overall.

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The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee together spent over $900,000 on the race. "The NRCC was proud to support her and our targeted and early investments proved to be a difference maker in the race".

The Republican party spent big in the special election, seeking to avoid a repeat of last month's Pennsylvania special election where Democrat Conor Lamb claimed victory.

President Donald Trump took the district by 21 points and Lesko agrees with Trump on a lot of his policies, from immigration to taxes to the Second Amendment. Trump tweeted out his support for Lesko, a former state senator, on Tuesday morning. "If that happens, illegal immigrants will pour right over your border, bringing their drugs and their crime with them, right into your neighborhood, right into your back yard".

Tipirneni raised $664,920 during the race, over $100,000 more than Lesko's $539,403. She's pushed a plan to allow some people to buy into Medicare.

However Lesko's margin of victory was considerably smaller than Trump's in 2016, giving hope to Democrats.

Democrats need to gain 23 seats in the 435-member House of Representatives to retake control of the chamber.

"The GOP barely hung onto a seat in a region they've represented for 35 years", Bradley Beychok, president of Democratic group American Bridge wrote in an election night memo.

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