‘Blue Wave’ Fizzles as AP Declares Republican Winner of Arizona Special Congressional Election

Ralph Freso/AP

by Michael Patrick Leahy

The Associated Press declared Republican Debbie Lesko the winner of Tuesday’s special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District over Democrat Hiral Tipirneni at 11:08 p.m. Eastern, one hour and eight minutes after the polls closed.

At 11:01 p.m Eastern, Decision Desk HQ tweeted that Lesko had a 9,000 vote lead, leading Tipirneni by 53 percent to 47 percent.

“With so few votes left to actually count, Tipirneni is going to need to win those by a sizable margin to overcome,” the polling group added in a tweet a minute later.

The New York Times called the election for Lesko shortly after AP called it at 11:08 p.m.

At 11:21 p.m. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement congratulating Lesko on her victory:

Congratulations to Debbie on her hard-fought victory. Debbie ran a smart campaign and focused in on the issues that voters cared about, like having more take-home pay, fewer regulations, and a secure border. She is a committed conservative who will make Arizona proud, and I’m excited for her to get to Washington so she can help as we continue to advance our agenda. Her victory proves that Republicans have a positive record to run on this fall and we need to spend the next seven months aggressively selling our message to the American people.

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