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25 April 2018, 02:24 | Nina Hammond
Arizona Special Election Results: Eighth House District
Two women, Republican state senator Debbie Lesko and Democrat cancer researcher Hiral Tipirneni, are vying for the seat vacated in December by conservative congressman Trent Franks, who quit amid reports he offered a staffer $5 million to be his baby surrogate.
Republican Debbie Lesko is the projected victor of Arizona's special election on Tuesday in a contest both parties were watching as a barometer of political strength ahead of the November midterm election. Ms. Tipirneni was the first Democrat to contest the district, which covers suburbs north and west of Phoenix, since 2012.
"Given that Tipirneni is a Democrat running in a district that encompasses part of Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, a county President Donald Trump carried in 2016 and where, as of April 11, registered Republicans outnumbered registered Democrats nearly 2-to-1, her run has seemed like a long shot". "We really can't blame anything".
Republicans defended a congressional seat in Arizona on Tuesday, avoiding another special election upset in a strong GOP district. Tipirneni - or anyone else - can try to unseat her in November.
Lesko is the odds-on favorite to win the seat but it's been a tougher campaign than most had imagined.
National Democrats, however, stayed away from the race, deducing that a district that has sent only Republicans to Congress for four decades was out of reach.
The Associated Press projected the race shortly after initial results were reported, which showed Lesko leading by single digits in what is usually much stronger GOP turf.
"There are no moral victories in politics, but I'm celebrating tonight", Democratic strategist Andy Barr, who has deep Arizona ties, told TPM as the results rolled in.
National Republican groups spent big to back Lesko, pouring cash into the suburban Phoenix district for television and mail ads and phone calls to voters to ensure her victory.
Castellanos was not the only one to think that a narrow vote margin could mean good news for Democrats in Arizona: FiveThirtyEight, a statistical analysis website, said an overperformance by Tipirneni of eight-plus points would "bode well for Democrats' chances to flip Sen".
An Indian-American physician has mounted a serious challenge against a Republican candidate in a Congressional district in the USA state of Arizona, hoping to pull off an upset victory in a reliably Republican bastion which analysts say could boost anti-Trump movement.
Tipirneni raised $664,920 during the race, over $100,000 more than Lesko's $539,403.
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.
If those numbers hold up, that's a massive swing towards Democrats - the latest major improvement over earlier performance for the party since Donald Trump became president.
"Every Republican elected in Arizona was just put on notice", a Democratic aide in Arizona told CNN.
The call touted Lesko as a Republican in line with Trump on immigration and urged voters to get out and vote for her early.
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