After a day of trailing in his re-election bid, U.S. Rep. David Schweikert has captured the lead over Democratic challenger Hiral Tipirneni in the sixth congressional district.
Schweikert has represented the district, which includes Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Cave Creek and parts of north Phoenix, since 2013. In 2018, Tipirneni, a doctor, unsuccessfully ran for a different Congressional seat in the West Valley.
When voting concluded in the early morning hours Wednesday, Tipirneni led Schweikert by just half of one percentage points, a lead of about 1,800 votes. As of Wednesday night, Schweikert edged ahead of Tipirneni by about 2,600 votes.
The race is still too close to call. Maricopa County elections officials say there are about 360,000 ballots left to count, but how many are in the Schweikert-Tipirneni race is unknown.
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.”
In a live Facebook video late Tuesday night, Tipirneni 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,” Tipirneni 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.”
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.