Republicans expect to win Arizona's special house election on Tuesday. But they do not expect it to feel good.
National Republicans have poured more than $ 1 million into a deep red piece of the suburbs of Phoenix to support Debbie Lesko, a former state senator who is supposed to replace the former Rep. Trent Franks in Congress. The district supported President Donald Trump by 21 points in 2016, but most GOP activists said that the best scenario they see for Lesko is a high single-digit margin of victory for Democrat Hiral Tipirneni on Tuesday.
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"If Lesko in a district that was overwhelming for President Trump, it will mean that nationwide candidates will have a rough road to hack," said Dan Eberhart, a large Republican donor from Arizona, who has an open Senate and one Governorship run this fall has. "If Tipirneni wins … the Republicans are the clear outsiders in the Arizona Senate race this fall."
Chip Scutari, a Republican adviser in Arizona, said a one-digit margin in the 8th district of Arizona "would be a wake-up call for republican elected officials that this is a radically different case". Year, adding that this anti-Trump sentiment has reached a new stratosphere. 19659002 Franks's resignation last year on charges of sexual impropriety sparked the special vote and Republican groups rushed to the district to prevent him turning away
The Congressional Leadership Fund, the Super PAC, partnered with House Speaker Paul Ryan voted to spend $ 200,000 on telephone banking and digital advertising, while the Republican National Committee lost around $ 500,000 – the voting efforts. The National Republican Congressional Committee aired TV commercials in conjunction with the Lesko campaign, along with additional ads from its independent spending unit, bringing its spending up to $ 500,000 in the race.
The Arizona Republican Party volunteers plan to send 100,000 text messages to voters on Election Day
Meanwhile, Trump took on a robocall to bolster Republican turnout. Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy both raised money for Lesko in the final leg.
Despite these efforts, public and internal polls from the race have shown that Tipirneni could win with a two-digit advantage over the Independents. An ABC15 poll with OH Predictive revealed that the Independents chose a 12-point margin for Tipirneni, while a further 14 percent of Republicans crossed party borders to Tipirneni.
It was not enough to trouble Lesko – but the same trend nationwide would signal trouble for other Arizona Republicans in the fall.
"The trend is clear: the GOP has a problem with independents and the president's preference among independent voters correlates directly with what the Republican is for general elections, and that's really worrying," said Mike Noble , a Republican pollster who conducted the ABC15 survey. "What we've seen is that Democrats are united, Republicans are united, but not as much as Democrats, and independents tend to Democrats."
Nevertheless, national Democrats largely remained out of the race. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not issue a television ad for this special election, even though the Working Families Independent Unit paid $ 100,000 for Tipirneni.
DCCC spokesman Jacob Peters said Tipirneni has "a local, well-funded and organized campaign," adding that the committee "worked closely with Dr. Tipirneni and her team."
Tipirneni's campaign, however, saw a late hope in an internal poll that linked her and Lesko with the Democrat gave the independents a huge advantage, ranging from 63 percent to 25 percent.
"If this trend continues, it's just enough drift to push Tipirneni for this particular election," the survey says.
But the demographics of the district are particularly good for Republicans, even more so than at other special elections in Trump-friendly districts. The 8th district is dominated by white, older voters – a group that has not turned to the Democrats.
Early election data – with more than 150,000 ballots sent back – suggests an older electorate: The average age of early voters is just 64 years old, according to a senior polling advisor, Garrett Archer, at the Arizona Foreign Secretary's Office. Registered Republicans have more than 20 points more votes than registered Democrats.
"Looking at the early numbers of votes, the Republicans are all getting their grades," said Michael Duncan, a Republican adviser who targeted 70,000 to 100,000 postal voters with digital adverts for the Congressional Leadership Fund.
Tipirneni, who raised $ 740,000 for her bid, used the money to portray Lesko as "more of the same" in Congress, repeating her as a "career politician" in TV commercials.
"If we want to see progress, we have to send Dr. Hiral Tipirneni to the congress – ER doctor, not a politician," reads the ad.
But the Arizona Republic reported that Tipirneni "attacked [19459045"truth"inanotherTVshowthe"afederalinvestigationofsuperspiralmoneylaundering"claim"ThisclaimwashoweveracomplainttotheUSElectoralCommissionagainstLesko
"The Tipirneni campaign brought nearly one million dollars into negative advertising on Debbie, so that will be one have significant influence, "said Barrett Marson, a spokesman for the Lesko campaign.
Lesko and the NRCC condemned Tipirneni in a joint television advertisement because of their "radical agenda" and said that she wants to "block border security", "enforce taxpayer-funded health care for illegal aliens" and "provide European health care for the rest from us ".
Alex Isenstadt contributed to this report.