RESULTS: Incumbent GOP Rep. David Schweikert projected to beat Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, retain seat in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District

  • Rep. David Schweikert is projected to defend his seat in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District from Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni.
  • Tipirneni, a doctor and cancer researcher, has over ten times more cash on hand than Schweikert.
  • Schweikert, a climate change denier, admitted to 11 violation counts of misused taxpayer funds in July 2020 and was reprimanded on the House floor and fined $US50,000.
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Incumbent Republican Rep. David Schweikert is projected to retain his seat and defeat Democratic challenger Dr. Hiral Tipirneni to represent Arizona’s 6th Congressional District.

The candidates

Schweikert, the incumbent, was investigated in 2018 by the United States House Committee over misuse of campaign funds. In July 2020, Schweikert admitted to 11 violations of House rules and was officially reprimanded and fined $US50,000.

A House Ethics Committee report found that Schweikert’s chief of staff improperly donated thousands to his re-election campaign and Schweikert used official House time and resources on his reelection, improperly used campaign funds for personal reasons, pressured staff to work on his reelection campaign, and even fabricated taking a $US100,000 loan.

A denier of climate change, Schweikert said in a 2014 interview that, “I think it’s incredibly arrogant, you know, for the Al Gores of the world to stand up and say the world’s coming to an end.”

Tipirneni, Schweikert’s Democratic opponent, worked as an emergency physician for eight years before becoming a scientific review officer with the Society of Research Administrators International. She currently sits on the board of directors of the Maricopa Health Foundation. Tipirneni was defeated in a 2018 special election for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District where she lost to Debbie Lesko.

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The district

Arizona’s 6th Congressional District encompasses a portion of Maricopa County and the northeastern suburbs of Phoenix, including Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, and Cave Creek. The district has only been represented by a Democrat for one term in its short history.

Trump carried the 6th District by a margin of 10 percentage points in 2016, according to the Daily Kos, and 2018 Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally carried it by 3 points over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema two years ago.

The nationwide suburban swing towards Democrats, Schweikert’s recent scandals, and Tipirneni’s profile as a doctor in a state and district that’s been especially hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic made this race especially competitive.

The money race

According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, Tipirneni has both outraised and outspent Schweikert. Federal Election Commission filings show that Tipirneni has raised $US5.3 million, spent $US4.8 million, and has $US684,000 in cash on hand while Schweikert has raised $US2 million this cycle, spent $US1.7 million, and has $US372,000 in cash on hand.

What some of the experts say

Arizona’s sixth district, located in the northwest suburbs of Phoenix, is an under-the-radar competitive House district where Democrats could expand their margins and even flip away from Republican control.

The seat is currently rated as a tossup by the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, and “leans Democratic” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia.

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