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Republican Debbie Lesko narrowly wins Arizona congressional seat

The vote is widely viewed as a signal of whether Trump and the Republicans can hold on to Congress in November.

PHOENIX - Republican Debbie Lesko won the special election Tuesday in Arizona's Eighth Congressional District despite falling far short of President Trump's margin of victory there in 2016.

Lesko, a former state lawmaker, was leading Hiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room physician, 52 percent to 47 percent late Tuesday night.

There were about 10,000 ballots left to be counted, according to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, making it mathematically impossible for Tipirneni to overtake Lesko.

Tipernini had hoped to replicate surprising Democratic wins in Pennsylvania, Alabama and other states, in a year when opposition to Trump's policies have boosted the party's chances in Republican strongholds.

Even in victory, Lesko fell far short of the 20-point Republican voting advantage she enjoyed in a district that's sent a Republican to Congress for almost 40 years. Trump won the district by 21 points in 2016.

Lesko barely won her former legislative district, edging Tipirneni by just 2.5 points.

Lesko replaces former Congressman Trent Franks, a Republican who resigned in December amid sexual misconduct allegations.

President Donald Trump cheered on Lesko in a tweet Tuesday.

READ: Trump's clout faces test in Arizona congressional election Tuesday

The Republican Party and outside groups spent more than $1 million to bolster Lesko's campaign.