Dr. Hiral Tipirneni had hopes of being the voice of the 8th Congressional District in Arizona, but the Democrat was unable to garner enough votes in the special election general April 24, falling short to her Republican counterpart Debbie Lesko.
Nearly 174,000 residents in the 8th District went out to vote, with 91,390 — or 52.6 percent — checking Lesko's box in the ballot to 82,318 — or 47.4 percent — opting for the Indian American Tipirneni.
“Nine months ago my friends, family, neighbors and I began a journey to challenge the status quo," Tipirneni said in a statement.
"We knew we were bucking conventional wisdom by engaging West Valley families and communities on issues that matter most to them – getting quality, affordable healthcare, protecting retirement security, fully empowering our public schools and building an economy that benefits all of us, not just a few of us," she added.
The candidate entered the race in July 2017 with an eye at pacing herself for November 2018 against the then-Republican incumbent Trent Franks (see India-West article here).
Tipirneni told India-West early in her campaign process that Franks was out of touch with the residents and she wanted to be the voice of the community in Washington, D.C. (see India-West article here).
However, the campaign process sped up in December when Franks, amid misconduct allegations, resigned from his post, leading to a special election.
Her message within the Democratic Party seems to have been heard. Tipirneni won the special election primary over Brianna Westbrook by nearly 20 points to advance to the April general election
"I'm beyond humbled and honored each and every day by the outpouring of support our campaign has received, and there aren't enough 'thank you’s' we can give to our volunteers and supporters,"Tipirneni said in her concession statement. "Running for Congress has truly been an honor of a lifetime."
Tipirneni, despite the tight race, remained humbled in defeat.
"I congratulate Debbie Lesko on a hard-fought campaign and wish her good luck in Congress," she said.
Despite the defeat, the focus now shifts to the regular election cycle, which opens up the same seat for election this November. Tipirneni has eyes on challenging Lesko for the seat a second time in the same calendar year.
Should Tipirneni advance past the Aug. 28 primary, in which Westbrook and two other candidates — Bob Musselwhite and Bob Olsen — are seeking the nomination, Tipirneni would have that chance Nov. 6 against the Republican.
"Our communities have shown the courage to demand more of Washington and more of our representatives. Now, on to November," she said.