Sarah Sanders on Republican's 5-point win in Arizona: 'She's not Donald Trump'
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders early Wednesday dismissed a Republican candidate’s narrow victory in deep-red Arizona, saying that Debbie Lesko is “not Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE.”
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“Look, no offense to this candidate, but she’s not Donald Trump. That was a different election, I don’t think you can compare those two,” she said.
“I think the big story here is that a Republican won,” Sanders continued. “It doesn’t matter whether you win by 25 points or 2 points, a win is a win and she’s going to be in Congress, the Democrat’s not, and I think there is plenty of enthusiasm and support for Republicans moving into the midterms.”
Lesko won the special election in Arizona’s 8th District on Tuesday, edging out Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who conceded in a statement Wednesday morning. Lesko’s victory margin of about 5 points is markedly lower than the margin by which Trump won the district in 2016, when he defeated Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE by about 21 points.
In an early morning tweet Wednesday, Trump congratulated Lesko and chastised the national news media for being “silent” on her victory, despite coverage from multiple outlets.
“Congratulations to Republican Debbie Lesko on her big win in the Special Election for Arizona House seat. Debbie will do a Great Job! Press is so silent,” Trump tweeted.
Lesko was largely expected to win the district, formerly held by Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.) who resigned in December. Franks did not face a Democratic challenger in his last run for reelection.