Arizona special election results are in
- Author: Theresa Obrien Apr 25, 2018,
Apr 25, 2018, 14:24
"This isn't a great result", one senior national Republican operative bluntly told CNN as results ticked in.
Tuesday night's special election in Arizona's 8th congressional district determined whether Republicans would keep the seat vacated by former Rep. Trent Franks, the Republican who resigned a year ago after he was accused of harassment. With 86% of the vote counted, Lesko led Tipirneni 52% to 47%.
The special election was held following the December resignation of Representative Trent Franks amid sexual misconduct allegations. It is unclear whether she intends to challenge Lesko in November.
Republicans were expected to hang onto the GOP stronghold, but national groups took a more cautious approach after a major Democratic upset in last month's Pennsylvania special election.
Lesko is the odds-on favorite to win the seat but it's been a tougher campaign than most had imagined.
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"We'd really like a change", he said. "It shouldn't have been this close".
Democrats didn't think they would win the race. She recalled being told when she first jumped into the race against Franks that winning would be impossible, and she shouldn't bother running in such a Republican district.
Republicans came to Lesko's aid in hopes of avoiding another Democratic upset. Trump won Arizona overall by only roughly 3 points in 2016.
But both Democrats and Republicans will dissect the details of the contest - specifically the final margin between the two candidates. "Obviously the results are still coming in a little bit but this speaks volumes for what the fall is going to look like in Arizona". She narrowed the gap, though - Lesko won by about six points, according to The Associated Press.
The race largely hinged on health care, with Tipirneni leaning heavily on her medical background and proposing universal coverage through Medicare expansion.
Lesko is a former Arizona state senator. "What it comes down to is we knew our community and our district and our neighborhoods a hell of a lot better than the pundits did", the Arizona Democrat said.
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Lesko was endorsed by the House Freedom Caucus, though not every candidate endorsed by the hard-line conservative group joins its ranks.
GOP groups collectively spent more than $1 million to boost Lesko and curb Democrats' voter enthusiasm.
Tipirneni worked the district hard, making inroads rarely seen in an area that hadn't elected a Democrat since the early 1980s. Add Republican Party as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Republican Party news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Forecasters suggestedanything short of a double-digit Lasko win would be "in line with past special-election results that have pointed to a Democratic wave" in November.
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.
"Nancy Pelosi wants to send a liberal Democrat to Congress to represent you".
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