Debbie Lesko Holds Arizona House Seat for GOP in Closely Fought Special Election

Republican Debbie Lesko has won the special congressional election in Arizona’s 8th District, holding off a strong challenge from Democrats, who in recent months have claimed a string of victories in GOP strongholds.

The former state senator defeated Hiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room physician running for public office for the first time. 

lesko-donate-mobile Republican Debbie Lesko has claimed victory in Arizona’s special congressional election. But the margin of Lesko’s win was narrow, giving hope to Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.

Democrats had been confident before the election, following surprise wins in congressional contests in Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

The special election was held following the December resignation of Representative Trent Franks amid sexual misconduct allegations.

The district has had a strong majority of Republican-registered voters. Donald Trump won the district by a 20 percent margin in 2016’s presidential election.

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

According to votes tallied late Tuesday, Lesko won by only 6 percentage points, claiming 53 percent of the vote to Tipirneni’s 47 percent.

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

Republican groups poured more than $1 million into Lesko’s war chest.

Amid French President Emmanuel Macron's state visit, President Trump found time to urge voters to back Lesko. 

"Arizona, please get out today and vote @DebbieLesko for Congress in #AZ08. Strong on Border, Immigration and Crime. Great on the Military. Time is ticking down - get out and VOTE today. We need Debbie in Congress!" tweeted the president. 

Democrats need to win 23 GOP-held House seats in November’s mid-terms to claim a majority.