April 25 (UPI) — Republican Debbie Lesko narrowly defeated Democrat Hiral Tipirneni Tuesday in a special election for an open congressional seat in Arizona.
The win wasn’t unexpected, due to the 8th District being heavily Republican, but Lesko led Tipirneni by only six points in early voting tallies — a sharp decrease than the 21 points President Donald Trump won the district by in 2016.
The final tally gave Lasko a victory by about 9,000 votes, or 52 percent of ballots.
The slim margin has some Republicans worried that the result is a continuation of Democrats overperforming, and sometimes winning, in special congressional elections this year in what are supposed to be Republican strongholds.
Mike Noble, a GOP pollster based in Arizona, told Politico Republicans should be “slamming” the alarm.
“This district isn’t supposed to be competitive, and so to see this margin, especially with the Republicans pouring in resources here — again, it’s a tough year,” he said.
In what was supposed to be an easy win for Republicans in the Phoenix-area district, Lesko, a former state senator well-known to voters, received a great deal of help from the national party — including $1 million in outside funding and fundraisers from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
Trump also recorded robocalls for Lesko and urged Arizona voters to go to the polls in a tweet on Tuesday.
“Strong on Border, Immigration and Crime. Great on the Military. Time is ticking down — get out and VOTE today. We need Debbie in Congress!,” Trump said.
Meanwhile,the national Democratic Party was not involved in the race, The New York Times reported.