Democrat Hiral Tipirneni and Republican Debbie Lesko face off Tuesday in the special election for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.
The district is deeply red — President Donald Trump won the district by 20 points in 2016 — but the race could test the strength of the Republican base in a scandal-plagued year. Republican Rep. Trent Franks resigned in December amid allegations that he had offered a female staffer $5 million to be a surrogate for him and his wife. Franks was considered one of the most conservative members of the House.
Tipirneni is a former emergency room doctor and has made this race all about health care, deriding Republican attacks on the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Lesko is anti-abortion, has run on a “tough on immigration” platform, and says she supports Trump but doesn’t approve all of his antics.
Polls showed the race appeared to be tightening leading up to Election Day. Even if Lesko wins, a close race in safe Republican territory could raise red flags for the GOP.