It should not come as any great surprise that the Arizona Republic endorses Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni for Congress in CD 8, given the deceitfulness and “fake doctor” dirty tricks smear campaign waged by her Republican opponent Debbie Lesko, who has adequately demonstrated that she is unfit to serve in pubic office. What we missed about the ‘blue wave’ in the race between Debbie Lesko and Hiral Tipirneni (excerpt):
Hiral Tipirneni, a political unknown, a first-time candidate for office, a first-generation immigrant and, most remarkably, a Democrat with virtually no backing or money from her national party went into one of the GOP’s lock-down districts and put a huge scare into them [in the special election.]
The mountain she climbed could not have been steeper. The Republican Party enjoyed a 17-point registration advantage. And that didn’t begin to describe the challenge. Recent history showed District 8 voters went 2-1 for Republican candidates.
After winning the Republican primary, Debbie Lesko was not just a shoo-in, but a preordained fact. Win the Republican primary and she would be a congresswoman.
In the way that prophecy turns to fact, Lesko won the special election. But she did by such a narrow a margin, less than 5 percentage points, that a funereal gloom set upon the Republican Party.
“It’s a warning shot,” said Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. “Anything below a 10-point margin is not good news.”
What made the district competitive?
As everyone talked blue wave, not many considered that we had just witnessed an extraordinary personal achievement. A political neophyte had just done the impossible. She made Arizona CD 8 competitive.
During her campaign, Tipirneni was filling conference halls in Trump Country – the west Valley retirement communities. Sometimes it was standing-room only. And there was a powerful buzz running through the district that a candidate of real substance had arrived.
There’s been much talk about [Rep. Kyrsten Sinema] poised to do what no Democrat has done in 30 years and no woman has ever done in Arizona, win a U.S. Senate seat.
But the virtuoso of the 2018 Arizona election is a good-natured emergency-room physician on the Valley’s west side whose skills on the state hustings are unmatched.
To some of us on The Arizona Republic editorial board have said she seems the strongest candidate we’ve witnessed in two decades.
It’s not just that she comes with the quality education from a respected profession; it’s not that she articulates her views in a way that reveals an orderly mind; it’s not that she has competitive fire and yet personal charm, it’s that she is pitch-perfect for the times.’
Where does Tipirneni stand on the issues?
Tipernini is a problem-solver in a world overstocked with pundits and powerbrokers. She actually wants to fix health care with a buy-in option that would allow people under 65 to purchase Medicare.
She admits we need to reform Social Security so it exists for the next generation of senior citizens. She favors small, incremental increases in the payroll tax and in the earned income that can be taxed for Social Security.
She believes that by simplifying the tax code and closing loopholes we can improve the economic climate for the middle class.
And as her opponent tries to bait her into partisan snits, Tipernini doesn’t bite. She states the facts as she knows them and moves on to bigger issues.
One of them is the political bile the sloshes from every portico in Washington. Tipirneni argues for different kind of polity — less anger, more logic.
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Some have argued that the Congress 8 race has been close because the Republican candidate is so weak. Lesko is not gifted with articulate speech and personal magnetism … But she is outmatched in this race. Her primary argument seems to be the math. She represents the predominately conservative attitudes of the district, she says, and thus should be its representative.
GOP tribalism is a poor excuse to pass up being represented by “the strongest candidate we’ve witnessed in two decades.” Voters should choose the best qualified candidate in the race to represent them, not mindlessly vote for any warm body with an “(R)” behind his or her name. This is quite literally insanity.
So, who’s best for CD 8?
During the special election, we were reluctant to tell an overwhelming Republican electorate that used to send Franks to Congress by 30-point margins that it should now consider a Democrat.
But in that April special election the district’s voters told us a certain kind of Democrat is viable. We have interviewed the candidates and we like them both as people, but only one shows the capacity to be not only a vote in Washington but an influencer of the people who run that town.
It’s time Hiral Tipirneni be recognized as the exceptional talent she is. This is a leader of consequence who deserves a seat in Congress.
I could not agree more. But are there enough Republicans of conscience and independents in CD 8 to join with Democrats in numbers to elect Dr. Tipirneni? It would be a tragedy if Dr. Tipirneni were to lose to mindless GOP tribalism.