The U.S. House seat will remain firmly in GOP control after Republican Debbie Lesko won the special election in Arizona's 8th Congressional District against Hiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room doctor. Lesko was formerly an Arizona state senator whose victory was a disappointment to Tipirneni who hoped to see victory after the surprising Democratic win in Pennsylvania.
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Lesko will be taking over for former Republican Rep. Trent Franks who resigned last December after a series of sexual assault allegations were levied against him. The district spans across t retirement community of Sun City. Phoenix and some of the most conservative areas of the state. The former senator has National Republican groups to thank who spent $500,000 on TV and mail ads on her behalf. Democratic groups didn't commit any money to the race but the Cook Political Report managed to move the dial from solid Republican to likely Republican in the week leading up to the election.
Two out of every three ballots were cast for a Republican in last February's primary. Franks, who admitted he discussed surrogacy with two female staffers, stepped down which paved the way for Lesko to fill the role. A former aide of Franks said he offered her $5 million to carry his child as a surrogate. Her opposition, Tipirneni, made a push for older voters and said Lesko would vote to cut programs like Social Security and Medicaid to give tax breaks to the wealthy. Lesko retaliated by calling Tipirneni out of touch with voters and too liberal for the area.
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A 64-year-old retired construction and warehouse worker from Glendale named David Hunt said he voted for Lesko because he believes illegal immigrants are creating unfair job competition for high school graduates. "She's the best candidate to deal with the porous border," he said. Another resident named Larry Bettis echoed Hunt's sentiment saying, "Immigration – the fence. That’s all I really care about."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">VICTORY: Congratulations to Congresswoman-Elect Debbie Lesko!<br><br>The race has already been called because of Lesko's big early lead. This is a huge blow to the democrats.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DebbieLesko?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DebbieLesko</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AZ08?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AZ08</a> <a href="https://t.co/SQKgSO1ISR">pic.twitter.com/SQKgSO1ISR</a></p>— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) <a href="https://twitter.com/ScottPresler/status/988979855281844224?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 25, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Nikole Allen, a 45-year-old medical assistant from New York now living in Glendale said, "I don’t like the president and felt it was time to take a stand. It’s time for us to vote the Republicans out." A registered Democrat named Lance Ostrander who lives in Peoria said, "We'd really like a change," he said. "Trump had a lot of good ideas at first but a lot of people feel like they were hoodwinked."
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