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Wed, Dec. 02

All Arizona US House incumbents win reelection

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) and Arizona’s eight other incumbent members of Congress were reelected in the Nov. 3 general election. (Miner file photo)

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) and Arizona’s eight other incumbent members of Congress were reelected in the Nov. 3 general election. (Miner file photo)

PHOENIX - U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran has defeated his Republican challenger to win a third term representing Arizona’s 1st Congressional District.

His victory means all nine Arizona U.S. House incumbents won reelection.

"It always feels good to win,” O’Halleran said late Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to continuing my time in the Congress to help the people of Arizona and the United States. It’s going to be an interesting time.”

O'Halleran's victory was one of a handful that were determined as new vote counts came in late Tuesday and clinched Democratic control of the U.S. House for two more years. The party has won at least 218 seats, according to The Associated Press, and could win a few others when more votes are counted.

But the Democratic majority will be slimmer when the new Congress is seated next year. Heavy Republican turnout across the country turned what Democrats hoped to be a gain of as many as 15 seats in the 435-member chamber into a loss that could near that number.

O’Halleran faced a spirited challenge from Eloy rancher Tiffany Shedd, who ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary in 2018. Vote counts that trickled in since Election Day made it clear by Tuesday evening that he had won.

“I appreciate my opponent’s work – she did a tremendous job in her race and campaign,” O'Halleran said. “So let’s try to bring people back together.”

O’Halleran is one of the more moderate Democrats in the U.S. House, a stance that has seen him elected twice before in the sprawling swing district. O’Halleran served four two-year terms in the Arizona Legislature as a Republican in the 2000s, left politics, changed parties and first won his congressional election in 2016.

It runs from Flagstaff east to the Navajo Nation and sweeps south and then west to take in parts of Pinal County and a slice of northern Pima County. District voters have only elected Democrats to the House since the 2011 redistricting.

Seven of Arizona’s nine congressional races were quickly called for the incumbents after last Tuesday’s election but the 1st District and one other contest took days for vote totals to show a clear victor.

The other close race was in the 6th District, where Republican Rep. David Schweikert survived a strong Democratic challenge. Schweikert defeated Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, who ran a campaign focusing on health care and accusations that Schweikert failed to represent his wealthy suburban Phoenix district. It will be his sixth term in Congress.

Schweikert was the most endangered member of Arizona’s congressional delegation, who all ran for reelection this year. Tipirneni had a lead on Election Day, but Schweikert soon pulled ahead and his victory became clear Saturday when additional votes from Maricopa County showed he had come out on top.

Tirpirnei had a big fundraising edge against the wounded GOP incumbent with a slimmer-than-normal campaign account. Schweikert had admitted to a series of ethics violations in July. The 6th is a suburban district that takes in much of north Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

Arizona voters also reelected Republican Reps. Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko and Paul Gosar on Tuesday. Democrats winning reelection included Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Greg Stanton, Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego.

Democrats control five Arizona districts and Republicans four.

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