nsucurrent.com May 20, 2018

Polls open in race for US House seat in Arizona

25 April 2018, 02:24 | Lowell Little

Arizona District 8 results: Debbie Lesko wins House Seat over Hiral Tipirneni

The Latest: Officials: Arizona voting going fairly smoothly

An Indian-American cancer research scientist, Hiral Tipirneni has lost narrowly in the special election for the House of Representatives from a Republican stronghold in Arizona, US media reported today. Debbie Lesko, right, celebrates with former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer after election results were announced for the Congressional District 8 seat during a campaign party at Lesko's home, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz.

"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'd really like a change", he said.

Lesko will fill the seat through the end of this congressional term in January and must run for re-election in November to continue serving.

Lesko came out on top of a large field of Republican candidates vying for Franks' old seat.

Arizona's 8th congressional district, in the northwest suburbs of Phoenix, has traditionally leaned Republican. She narrowed the gap, though - Lesko won by about six points, according to The Associated Press.

"Debbie is a strong conservative whose values truly reflect those of the voters in Arizona's Eighth District", NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement Tuesday night.

But in a year where Democrats, buoyed by anti-Trump fervor, have consistently overperformed their Republican counterparts, the party will look at the loss as a sign that a blue wave is about to crash on Republicans in the general election later this year.

Last month Democrat Conor Lamb won a stunning upset over his Republican rival in southwestern Pennsylvania, where another congressman quit amid a sex scandal - and where Trump campaigned twice in a failed effort to keep the congressional seat in Republican hands. Groups including the Republican National Committee; the National Republican Congressional Committee; and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, spent a combined more than $1 million for the GOP nominee.

Lesko sought to paint Tipirneni as too liberal for the district, pointing to the Democrats' support for a public health care option and opposition to the GOP's tax overhaul. But the Democrat Tipirneni, has been doing well in the polls.

The late announcement tracks with what the party did during races in Alabama and Pennsylvania.

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said about 19,000 voters had turned out to the 55 voting locations on Tuesday and more than 155,000 people participated in early voting. The Democratic National Committee, like the RNC, sent in staff.

Lesko was first elected to the Arizona state House in 2008, later winning a seat in the state Senate in 2014.

Lesko represented parts of the district since 2009 and has an extremely strong base of support in a district Franks had locked up since 2003.

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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