Democrat concedes in Arizona special election

April 25 16:38 2018

President Trump gave a shout-out Wednesday to Debbie Lesko, who won a special election to keep an Arizona seat in the U.S. House in Republican hands.

“Given that Tipirneni is a Democrat running in a district that encompasses part of Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, a county President Donald Trump carried in 2016 and where, as of April 11, registered Republicans outnumbered registered Democrats nearly 2-to-1, her run has seemed like a long shot”.

A strong performance by Democrats in a district where the party did not even field a challenger in the last two elections marked yet another troubling sign for the Republican party ahead of the 2018 elections.

The late announcement tracks with what the party did during races in Alabama and Pennsylvania.

However, the incoming congresswoman faced a significant challenge from Democrat physician Hiral Tipirneni, who collected a relatively meager $275,000 in outside spending from national organizations like the Democratic National Committee and the Working Families Party.

In Arizona, Democrats hope to build off Tuesday’s momentum – and the organizing network they set up deep in Republican territory – to try to win state legislative seats that previously weren’t competitive. Gone was the bragging about how the Democrats weren’t getting the job done. Time is ticking down – get out and VOTE today. And Nate Silver notes that the results last night are bad news for the GOP notwithstanding the win.

The result in Arizona 8 fits a pattern so far in special congressional elections this cycle. In others it’s because of resignations. Mr. Trump won the district by 21 points.

Mike Noble, a GOP pollster based in Arizona, told Politico Republicans should be “slamming” the alarm.

The results of Tuesday’s election are a stark contrast to those prior results, perhaps indicating that the so-called “Blue Wave” of Democratic midterm victories may be inching closer to reality.

That Utah exception is a function of Trump, too. Lesko wasn’t either of those, and there was still a significant shift to the left.

The shifts relative to the Cook PVI are more uniform. The district hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1980.

To put a fine point on it, here are the combined shifts relative to 2016 and PVI. On paper, Arizona’s 8th Congressional District is not one where Democrats were expected to come close to victory. This also wasn’t a low turnout election that amplified the Democratic enthusiasm advantage. But that message seemed to have lost some power, as Democrats grew more intense about organizing and voting.

As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver noted Wednesday morning, Arizona’s Eighth District has always been “extremely Republican”. It’s like a subpar football team scrimmaging against the Super Bowl winners and discovering that they’re suddenly able to get within 7 to 10 points.

But all of this is why after Tuesday, just as they have after every special election this year, Republicans are sounding the alarm about what November could mean for their party.

Democrats credited those gains to suburban angst about Republicans, and to a campaign that focused heavily on issues like Medicare and Social Security.

Despite the loss, Democrats and political observers were quick to suggest the close margin should be a warning for Republicans in November as they navigate much tougher House races.

Republicans Look To Avoid Upset In Arizona Special Election

Democrat concedes in Arizona special election
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