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 TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE."
"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 ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty 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 FranksOn The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Arizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems MORE (R-Ariz.) who resigned in December. Franks did not face a Democratic challenger in his last run for reelection.