President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE on Wednesday congratulated Debbie Lesko (R) for winning a special election in Arizona on Tuesday, accusing the national media of being "silent" on the race.
In an early-morning tweet, the president congratulated Lesko on her "big win" over Hiral Tipirneni (D), who had not yet conceded the race as of Wednesday morning.
"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.
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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2018
Lesko held a 5.2 percentage point lead at the time of Trump's tweet, winning the district vacated when Trent Franks (R) resigned in December. Lesko was largely expected to win in a district that Trump won by 21 points over Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE in the 2016 presidential election.
Franks did not even face a Democratic challenger in 2016.
Despite the loss, Democrats and political observers were quick to suggest the close margin should be a warning for Republicans in November as they navigate much tougher House races.
Retiring House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE (R-Wis.) touted Lesko's victory, however, saying it proved that Republicans had a strong message to run on in the November midterm elections.
"Her victory proves that Republicans have a positive record to run on this fall and we need to spend the next seven months aggressively selling our message to the American people," he said.