PHOENIX — Debbie Lesko officially defeated Democrat Hiral Tipirneni Tuesday night in the race for Arizona’s eighth congressional district.
The Associated Press called the race for Lesko, who received 53 percent of the vote to Tipirneni’s 47 percent after early-voting ballots were counted. The Arizona Secretary of State’s office will continue to report updated numbers as they come in.
Lesko, a Republican, served in the state legislature for ten years, overseeing many areas in the district that she will now represent as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She often touted this record on the campaign trail, speaking with constituents about her legislative achievements that range from allowing golf carts on the street to expanding Arizona’s successful school choice program.
Tipirneni, the Democratic candidate, mounted an uphill bid for the conservative district despite her candidacy having been dismissed by liberal pundits and abandoned by allied groups who didn’t want to spend money on a race that the party likely wouldn’t win.
The Democrat also faced several stumbles along the way, including her opposition to the 2017 tax relief package and her last-minute admission on MSNBC that she doesn’t oppose partial-birth abortions — which garnered widespread criticism.
The candidate also faced increased scrutiny after an ABC15 investigation questioned her professional history, discovering that, despite campaigning on her background as a physician, Tipirneni was named in a medical practice lawsuit and had not actually treated any patients since 2007.
Lesko, the Republican, appeared on national television early Tuesday morning, to praise the constituents she will now represent.
“This is a good district,” Lesko said. “We have lots of veterans. People that are very patriotic. They believe in lower taxes, less government regulation, and they want to secure the border. And I share their values.”