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US Rep. David Schweikert increases lead over Hiral Tipirneni

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

PHOENIX – In Arizona’s tightest congressional race, five-term Republican Rep. David Schweikert continued to increase his lead on Thursday over Democratic challenger Dr. Hiral Tipirneni.

According to an update Thursday evening, Schweikert led Tipirneni 51.36%-48.64%, and the two were separated by 10,338 votes. In an early Thursday morning update, the race was seperated by 6,427 votes.

Tipirneni had emerged from Election Day with a 169,543-167,761 edge, a margin of 1,782 votes.

Schweikert won each of his previous congressional races by double-digit margins.

The suburban 6th District takes in much of north Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

Democrats saw Schweikert as vulnerable after he admitted to 11 House ethics violations regarding misuse of funds earlier this year. He agreed to pay a $50,000 fine in July following a two-year investigation.

Tipirneni had raised about $5 million as of Oct. 1, well above Schweikert’s $1.9 million. She entered the final four weeks of the campaign with $1.5 million on hand to close the deal, compared with the less than $550,000 in the Republican’s account. Outside groups joined in, backing both candidates.

This is Tipirneni’s third attempt to win a U.S. House seat in a span of just over two years. As a political newcomer in 2018, she ran twice in the 8th Congressional District — in a special election for a vacancy and then in the general election — but lost both times to Rep. Debbie Lesko.

If Tipirneni is elected, she’ll be the first Democrat to represent the state’s 6th Congressional District since 1992.

A Tipirneni win also would likely give Democrats a 6-3 grip on Arizona’s U.S. House delegation for the next two years, as well as two Democratic U.S. Senators.

It’s unlikely that any other Arizona congressional seat will flip.

District 1 is the only other congressional district race that has yet to be called.

CD1 Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran led GOP challenger Tiffany Shedd 51.86%-48.14%, as of Thursday. He came out of Election Day with a 159,614-145-664 lead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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