Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

WH Defends Narrow GOP Arizona Victory: 'She's Not Donald Trump'

Republicans Look To Avoid Upset In Arizona Special Election Arizona Special Election Results: Eighth House District
Steve Townsend | 26 April, 2018, 07:04

The Republican party spent big in the special election, seeking to avoid a repeat of last month's Pennsylvania special election where Democrat Conor Lamb claimed victory. Past elections have yielded similar results: during the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won the district by 22 points, despite winning the state by a smaller margin of 8.5 percentage points overall.

The Republican National Committee, National Republican Campaign Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund have collectively spent almost $1m to defend the reliably conservative seat.

Republicans had been cautiously optimistic about prevailing in the 8th Congressional District, where Trent Franks, who resigned past year, had won by 37 points. National Republican groups poured in more than $1 million into the district to boost Lesko and prevent another special election from getting out of hand. Republicans said that their win showed how the party could still run and win.

"What gets the base to the polls is, 'If you vote for my opponent, he'll impeach Trump, ' " Costello said. "It shouldn't have been this close".

"I've really come a long way and this is really quite overwhelming, it's very surreal", she said.

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

What Enten leaves out of his analysis entirely is the fact that Arizona's 8th district is only very recently red.

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Republicans were bracing for Democrats to have a strong performance in Tuesday's special election, especially since Democrats haven't bothered to field a candidate there since the 2012 election.

"These election results are a wake up call to Republicans in Arizona and nationally", GOP donor Dan Eberhart told Politico on Tuesday night. "The entire nation is looking at Arizona, because it's the only game in town right now". The Arizona special election seat opened after Rep. Trent Franks's resignation.

"Debbie will do a Great Job!" he wrote before adding a dig at the media, which he perceives as having a liberal bias.

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 who left the legislature in January and campaigned as a strong supporter of President Donald Trump's agenda.

Tipirneni raised $664,920 during the race, over $100,000 more than Lesko's $539,403. "Zero excuse, given the permanent absentee list", tweeted Nate Cohn, a writer for The New York Times's Upshot.

First, this race plus the one in Pennsylvania's 18th District last month occurred when the Democrats' position on the generic congressional ballot has weakened significantly from the end of the previous year. The only cycle that looks like this one so far is 2006, when Democrats had a net gain of 30 seats and took back the House. Taken together with all of the other storm clouds gathering for the GOP as November gets closer, this ought to be setting off warning bells at the Republican National Committee, on Capitol Hill, and in the campaign offices of Republican candidates across the country.

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