A Pyrrhic Victory in Arizona Congressional District 8 for Republicans

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Hiral Tepernini and Debbie Lesko
Dr. Hiral Tepernini got 82,318 votes, or 47.4%, but lost closely to Debbie Lesko, who got 91,390 votes, or 52.6%.

There was only one bit of good news for Republicans in the Arizona Congressional District Eight Election yesterday evening. Their candidate, soon to be Freedom Caucus Member Debbie Lesko, did win. Everything else was bad news for them. The reasons are as follows:

  • President Trump won this district by 21 points. Lesko won by only a little over five. The Democrat, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, and her team ran an excellent race, campaigning on health care, retirement security, and funding public education. She made inroads among Republicans and Independents outperforming how Secretary Clinton did in virtually every precinct.
  • The Democrats put up a fight. Dr. Tipirneni was the first Democrat to fight for this seat in six years. She and her people are smart and should learn how to build on their performance last night just in time for the electoral rematch this  November.
  • Enthusiasm is with the Democrats and Progressives for a variety of reasons ranging from an awakening for progressive solutions and disenchantment/disgust with what the President and his allies on the national and state stage offer.
  • The Republicans spent over a $1,000,000 in a “safe” district. The Democrats are probably hoping they drain their bank accounts on more of these “safe” districts. With her performance, Dr. Tipireni will probably get more attention from the National Party and small donors who see a very “gettable” seat in November.
  • This was the most conservative district in the State. Imagine what other strong Democrats can do, if recruited, in the other Congressional Districts in Arizona.


Since President Trump became President, Democrats have outperformed in all but one of the elections that have been held. Historically, this is not just a phenomenon that started with the Trump Administration. Just ask Bill Clinton before the 1994 elections. With the rash of retirements and Democratic and Progressive enthusiasm reaching zeniths not seen in years, districts won by Trump by 12 or fewer points should be considered. There is even fear that the Senate with strong Democratic challengers in Arizona, Nevada, Tennesse, and Texas, can put that chamber in play.

It is going to be interesting for the next seven months. Get out the popcorn.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/04/24/5-takeaways-arizona-special-election-congressional-seat-debbie-lesko/542869002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/04/24/5-takeaways-arizona-special-election-congressional-seat-debbie-lesko/542869002/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/25/us/politics/special-election-results-shift-democratic.html?link_id=7&can_id=943e7bf6e02432b4ecf6adf414ea51c6&source=email-progressive-breakfast-how-to-build-a-progressive-populist-movement-from-the-ground-up&email_referrer=email_342386&email_subject=progressive-breakfast-how-to-build-a-progressive-populist-movement-from-the-ground-up

https://www.washingtonpost.com/special-election-results/arizona/?utm_term=.e83ccd6da0a5

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/04/25/democrats-didnt-win-in-arizona-but-heres-why-theyre-celebrating-anyway/?utm_term=.4d24e0a396ec

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/arizona-voters-to-pick-new-member-of-congress-to-replace-trent-franks/2018/04/24/08fd2e84-4734-11e8-827e-190efaf1f1ee_story.html?utm_term=.b6fd4c162522

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/25/17279324/arizona-special-election-result-2018-midterms-republicans

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/25/17279368/marsha-blackburn-phil-bredesen-2018-tennessee-senate-race-polls

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/25/17279656/poll-nevada-republican-dean-heller-trump

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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.

1 COMMENT

  1. From what I’ve been able to see it looks like if Tipirneni got every single Democrat vote and every single Independent vote she would still need at least 1,000 Republican votes. The results make it pretty obvious that she did quite well with Republicans but will need to do even better in a November run.

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