Republican former state Sen. Debbie Lesko defeated Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni Tuesday in the special election to replace Trent Franks in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.
President Donald Trump won the district by 21 points during the 2016 presidential election, and Lesko was able to carry it by six points, according to The Associated Press.
Lesko will replace former GOP Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned in December over allegations of sexual misconduct. Franks reportedly had pressured a female aide to carry his surrogate child and offered her $5 million.
“I’ve really come a long way and this is really quite overwhelming, it’s very surreal,” Lesko said during her victory speech. “Twenty-five years ago I left an abusive husband and I sure as heck never would have dreamt in a million years that I would be running for Congress to be a congresswoman. I mean, that’s right, now I’m actually running for Congress, I won!”
“We weren’t surprised, we’re not surprised,” Tipirneni told The AP. “And we’re still waiting to see the rest of the votes. We’re not conceding. We’re still waiting for votes to be counted — so this isn’t over.”
The AP called the race for Lesko after state officials shared the results of 155,000 mail-in ballots, representing almost 75 percent of the votes cast.