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Democrat Hiral Tipirneni expected to challenge Schweikert in November

Rep. David Schweikert and Dr. Hiral Tipirneni (Facebook Photo/David Schweikert and Photo)

PHOENIX — Hiral Tipirneni is projected to win the Democratic Party primary and is expected to to face off against U.S. Rep. David Schweikert in November for the state’s 6th Congressional District, according to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Tipirneni was leading opponents Anita Malik, Stephanie Rimmer and Karl Gentles by a wide margin Tuesday night, according to election results.

Tipirneni had won 54% of the vote with nearly 54% of precincts reporting, according to preliminary results Tuesday from the Maricopa County Elections Department.

Malik was next with 36% of the votes.

Schweikert was unopposed in the Republican primary.

Tipirneni had been the Democrats’ most successful fundraiser, raking in about $2.5 million. Malik’s roughly $244,000 had been a distant second.

Tipirneni also more than tripled Schweikert’s fundraising efforts in the second quarter of 2020, which totaled just under $200,000.

She previously lost special and general election efforts in 2018 to win the GOP-heavy 8th District but earned strong name identification in the process.

Democrats see the 6th District, a GOP stronghold which covers much of north Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, as winnable because of a long-running ethics investigation into Schweikert that concluded Thursday with the five-term incumbent admitting to 11 ethics violations and agreeing to paying a $50,000 fine.

“As part of a resolution Representative Schweikert negotiated with the ISC (Investigative Subcommittee), he agreed to admit to all eleven counts in the Statement of Alleged Violations adopted by the ISC, accept a sanction of reprimand and a $50,000 fine, and waive all further procedural rights in this matter provided to him by House or Committee Rule,” the ethics committee said in a press release.

Schweikert had denied wrongdoing, but took responsibility for the problems in a letter to the committee that also said he agreed to settle the case in part because it was “was time consuming and extremely costly.”

The probe started in June 2018 when the Investigative Subcommittee was assigned to look into allegations that the congressman had received illegal campaign contributions from then-chief of staff Oliver Schwab and other staffers.

Schwab resigned the next month after seven years in his position.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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