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Republican Debbie Lesko wins Arizona special election

Republican Debbie Lesko wins Arizona special election”

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.

Lesko was a state legislator for more than a decade, establishing relationships in the district particularly in the expansive retirement community Sun City.

Republicans won a special congressional election Tuesday in the suburbs west of Phoenix, CNN projects, holding on in a reliably red district where Democrats launched a well-organized but long-shot bid to flip the seat.

Ahead of Tuesday's election, Democrats noted that a single-digit margin of victory for Lesko could indicate trouble in the fall for other Republicans in Arizona and across the country, especially considering Trump carried the 8th District by 21 points.

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

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.

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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.

"This was not supposed to be this close", the senior Republican said as representatives from the Lesko campaign touted the win for their candidate.

Republicans are meanwhile focused on Arizona's eighth district as a bulwark that they hope will halt a broader slide.

According to votes tallied late Tuesday, Lesko won by only six percentage points, claiming 53 percent of the vote to Tipirneni's 47 percent. The margin is in spite of a last-minute influx of about $1 million into the race from outside GOP groups, and a robocall in which Trump warned Tipirneni's victory would mean, "illegal immigrants will pour right over your border".

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.

As a candidate, Tipirneni outraised Lesko by nearly $200,000.

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Tipirneni worked the district hard, making inroads rarely seen in an area that hadn't elected a Democrat since the early 1980s.

National Republican groups spent big to back Lesko, pouring in more than $500,000 for television and mail ads and phone calls to voters to ensure her victory.

Tipirneni had given sleepless nights to her Republican opponent in Arizona.

Even with the numbers against her, Republicans spent heavy and hard in this contest to secure the win.

"Nancy Pelosi wants to send a liberal Democrat to Congress to represent you". If Democrats enjoy the same enthusiasm gap in those races, Republicans' control of the House and Senate could be in jeopardy. "We can't have that", Trump says in the call, a recording of which was obtained by CNN, that went out to voters on April 6. She played up her support for Trump and his agenda.

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

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