As reported by The Hill, various Republican groups are dropping a lot of money into Arizona in an effort to avoid yet another Democratic upset in next month’s special election.
While the GOP expressed confidence that it can successfully defend its congressional seat in the historically Republican area, behind the scenes, national Republican groups have committed more than half a million dollars into defending Arizona’s 8th congressional district seat. Republicans account for about 41 per cent of registered voters in the district, which is a a 17 point advantage over Democrats.
Also, Donald Trump won that district by a full 21 points during the last presidential election. But a spate of recent Republican losses in other special election scenarios clearly have the party worried.
Kyle Kondik, an elections analyst with the University of Virginia said:
“I’m skeptical the Democrats can actually win, [but] the more activity there is on the Republican side, the more indication it is actually competitive, because the parties are the ones with the best numbers. Losing Pennsylvania 18 was pretty embarrassing for Republicans. This would be worse.”
The race for Arizona’s 8th district pits former state Republican Senator Debbie Lesko (R) against Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who is a physician and first-time candidate. The seat was vacated by Trent Franks.
The RNC itself reportedly jumped into the race last week, investing nearly $300,000 in district canvassing. Additionally, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is reportedly spending $170,000 TV campaign efforts, which have been coordinated buy with Lesko’s campaign, per an NRCC official to The Hill.
Another $100,000 is being dropped in by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC with strong ties to Speaker Paul Ryan (WI).
With three weeks remaining, there is no telling how much more money Republicans are going to hemorrhage into this race. At this point, even if Lesko wins, it will have been due to a fortune of assistance from the party at a national level — in a district they don’t typically invest a dollar into defending.
The Republicans are definitely feeling the blue wave.