Schweikert trails Tiperneni in too-close-to-call race

Photo by Jim Small | Arizona Mirror

By Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

Democratic candidate Hiral Tiperneni has a small lead over U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, the GOP incumbent in a Congressional district historically held by Republicans, early election results show. 

Schweikert has represented the district, which includes Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Cave Creek and parts of north Phoenix, since 2013. In 2018, Tiperneni, a doctor, unsuccessfully ran for a different Congressional seat in the West Valley. 

As of Tuesday night, Tiperneni led Schweikert by slightly more than 4 percentage points, a little less than 11,000 votes. That accounted for all of the ballots cast on Election Day, but not for early ballots dropped off at polling places on Tuesday, which will be counted beginning Wednesday.

In a live Facebook video late Tuesday night, Tiperneni said she’s on the trajectory that she hopes will take her to victory. But she emphasized patience and said it’s important to wait until all ballots are counted. 

“Our race is too close to call,” Tiperneni said. “Even though we have a lead and I’m feeling very confident and strong, we don’t want to disenfranchise a single voter in Arizona’s sixth district so we’ll wait until the ballots are counted and we’ll make sure every single voice is heard.”

Schweikert’s re-election bid has been clouded by a two-year long ethics investigation. In July, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution finding Schewikert broke congressional and campaign finance rules. 

According to NPR, “House investigators concluded that over a seven year period, Schweikert failed to disclose, or falsely disclosed, $305,000 in loans or loan repayments and failed to report more than $140,000 in campaign contributions.”

Tipirneni’s campaign raised over $5 million and spent $4.8 million this election cycle, while Schweikert’s campaign raised $2 million and spent $1.7 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

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