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Lesko wins CD8 elections in a surprisingly close race


Tara Alatorre
PEORIA – Republican Debbie Lesko won the seat for the 8th Congressional District in the special elections that took place on April 24, replacing former Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned in December amidst sexual harassment allegations.

Newly elected Rep. Lesko won 52 percent of the vote, while her opponent, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, took 47 percent of the vote, which was surprisingly close considering the district is traditionally conservative and the seat has always been held by a Republican.

“I promise I will continue to work hard for the people in my district and continue to represent you with the values that have made our nation great,” Lesko said during her speech on election night, after thanking her supporters, staff and family.

According to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office there was a 40.41 percent voter turnout for the special election, which received national coverage because Democrats were hoping for a historic upset by seating Tipireneni in the right-leaning CD8 district.

However, the win seemed a little too close for comfort, and Lesko rallied up her supporters to get ready for the general elections coming up this November during her victory speech.  With only a five-percentage point victory in a district that Trump won by 21 points, the GOP may have concerns that she is not a strong enough candidate come November.

Tipireneni a political newcomer, outraised Lesko despite that Lesko had the advantage of being a well-recognized state senator representing the west side of the Phoenix Valley for many years.

Tipireneni still plans on running again this November in the general elections, and pundits are saying she has great momentum going into the race.

“Now that nearly all of votes are counted, we know that the special election goes to our opponent. I congratulate Debbie Lesko on a hard-fought campaign and wish her good luck in Congress,” Tipierneni announced on her Facebook page the night of the elections. “Our communities have shown the courage to demand more of Congress. Now, on to November!”