Hiral Tipirneni won the Democratic primary in the Scottsdale-based 6th Congressional District on Tuesday, clinching perhaps the state’s most compelling House race this year against Republican Rep. David Schweikert.
With Tipirneni’s win, Democrats now send one of the best-funded challengers in the nation against one of the House’s worst-funded incumbents.
The Associated Press called the 6th district Democratic race for Tipirneni at 8:54 p.m.
Unofficial early results also showed a pair of surprisingly competitive races in both primaries in the 1st Congressional District that covers northeastern Arizona.
Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., was leading challenger Eva Putzova in the Democratic primary. Tiffany Shedd was also ahead of Nolan Reidhead in the Republican primary.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., defeated Anne Marie Ward in the 4th Congressional District Republican primary, though his winning margin was about half as large as in 2016, the last time he faced a challenger from his own party.
The state’s other congressional primaries appeared to be drama-free affairs.
All of Arizona’s House incumbents were on track to win their party’s nomination again, and only three faced nominal opposition.
The 6th District Democratic primary has easily held the most interest.
Running in a district she doesn’t live in, Tipirneni defeated Anita Malik, the 2018 Democratic nominee, Stephanie Rimmer and Karl Gentles.
In a video message after her win, Tipirneni wasted little time in attacking Schweikert, who last week reached a deal with the House Ethics Committee to settle a years-old investigation into misspending by his office and campaign. Schweikert admitted to 11 rules violations, accepted the first reprimand for any member in eight years and agreed to pay a $50,000 fine.
“David Schweikert has violated his oath to the families of the 6th District time and time again,” she said. “He has broken his trust. He has worked against our best interests.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee immediately sought to cast the race, in a historically conservative-leaning area of Arizona, as one they could win.
The DCCC released a poll taken last week, ending Saturday, in which it said Schweikert led Tipirneni by 3 percentage points. The same poll had Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 4 points. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The National Republican Congressional Committee made clear it intends to keep Schweikert’s seat.
“Hiral Tipirneni is a retread candidate who already ran for Congress in Arizona twice and lost,” said NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer, who represents Minnesota in the House of Representatives. “Tipirneni running in a different district doesn’t change the fact that she’ll be rejected by Arizonans once again because she’s a radical liberal who wants to raise taxes.”
From the outset, Tipirneni, received heavy financial support from Democratic donors across the country, largely because of her surprisingly narrow loss in a 2018 special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, which leans heavily Republican.
And she easily collected the most financial support from Arizonans in the Democratic race.
In a series of tweets, Malik conceded the race and also focused on Schweikert.
“Our neighbors have used their voice & made their vote,” she wrote. “Now, we must unite to ensure Rep. Schweikert can no longer take advantage of our trust. He doesn’t deserve his position and I will stand with our nominee to defeat him.”
As of mid-July, Tipirneni had $1 million more cash than Schweikert. Only Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is facing a larger cash shortage among House incumbents this year, records show.
In the 1st District, Putzova’s liberal agenda stands in contrast to O’Halleran’s more-measured centrism.
Whoever wins the GOP nomination in that district gives GOP voters arguably their least-controversial candidate in years in a district President Donald Trump narrowly carried in 2016.
Neither Republican candidate has the cash O’Halleran brings if he wins his primary.
In the Tucson-based 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., defeated Peter Quilter, who was making his first bid for office, in the Democratic primary.
Brandon Martin was narrowly ahead of Noran Eric Ruden for the Republican nomination in that district.
In the 4th Congressional District that spans northwestern Arizona and wraps around the Valley, Gosar faced a rare primary challenge from Ward.
With Gosar’s win, he remains on track to win a sixth term in Congress representing Arizona’s most-Republican-leaning district. Delina DiSanto won the Democratic primary.
The state’s other congressional matchups are also mostly set.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., will make his bid for a 10th term representing the 3rd Congressional District in southwestern Arizona facing Daniel Wood, who was unopposed in the GOP primary. Grijalva is the dean of the state’s congressional delegation.
In the Mesa-based 5th Congressional District that covers the southeast Valley, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., may again face Democrat Joan Greene, whom he defeated in 2018. She was leading two challengers for the Democratic nomination.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., will face Josh Barnett, who had no competition for the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District that runs from Glendale to Tolleson and the South Mountains.
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., will face Democrat Michael Muscato in the 8th Congressional District, which covers the West Valley from Litchfield Park to New River.
In the Phoenix-based 9th Congressional District, Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., faces Dave Giles, who won the three-way GOP primary. Stanton has a $700,000 cash advantage in the race.
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