Democrat candidate Indian-American Hiral Tipirneni loses US special election

Hiral Tipirneni ended just five points behind her rival Debbie Lesko in the Arizona special election for the US House of Representatives.

world Updated: Apr 26, 2018 07:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
Hiral Tipirneni,Indian-American Hiral Tipirneni,US special election
Democratic candidate for the 8th Congressional District, Dr Hiral Tipirneni pauses as she is greeted by supporters after polls closed in her run against Republican Debbie Lesko as each candidate looks to fill the seat vacated by Republican Rep. (AP Photo)

As a Democrat, Indian-American Hiral Tipirneni always had an uphill task running in an election in a deeply Republican district. But on Tuesday, she ended just five points behind her rival Debbie Lesko in the Arizona special election for the US House of Representatives.

Just a “few points not double digits,” she told her supporters on Tuesday her defeat margin, adding that she will try again in the November mid-term elections.

This wasn’t a victory, but to many Democrats, including Tipirneni and the Indian-American community that largely leans left, it looked like one — President Donald Trump had won this district by 21 points in the 2016 presidential election. Though he did not campaign there in the special election, it was a vote on his presidency.

“Congratulations to Republican Debbie Lesko on her big win in the Special Election for Arizona House seat,” he tweeted on Wednesday, complaining how the “press is so silent”.

However, the press wasn’t exactly silent. “Tuesday’s narrow victory by Republican Debbie Lesko over a Democratic political newcomer sends a big message to Republicans nationwide: Even the reddest of districts in a red state can be in play this year,” said the Associated Press in an article analyzing the result.

Tipirneni was the first Democrat to run in the district since 2012. The party had hoped to pull off a shock win similar to a congressional race in Pennsylvania in March. However, they are arguing that Tipirneni’s narrow defeat shows that there is wave in their favour, which, they hope, will propel them to victory in the November mid-terms.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 00:01 IST