GOP candidate Debbie Lesko won the House special election in Arizona Tuesday night; fending off a fierce fight from her Democratic challenger and holding a pivotal district carried by Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
As the polls closed, Lesko defeated Democrat Hiral Tipirneni by a margin of 53% to 47%, dashing liberal hopes of turning the red seat blue heading into the high-stakes 2018 midterms.
The tighter-than-expected results are sending alarm bells throughout Republican circles in Washington, who are sounding the alarm over a district the President won by 21% over Hillary Clinton.
“These election results are a wake up call to Republicans in Arizona and nationally,” a major GOP donor told Politico. “Winning the Arizona 8th by such a small margin portends very little margin of error for Gov. Doug Ducey and the eventual Arizona Republican Senate nominee this fall.”
“Republicans shouldn’t be hitting the alarm, they should be slamming it,” added another GOP strategist. “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.”