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Republican in tight Arizona House race expected to get $75,000 boost from fundraiser featuring Paul Ryan

Key Points
  • As the special election battle in Arizona's 8th Congressional District heats up, the Republican nominee in the race is bringing in a big player, House Speaker Paul Ryan, to help push her campaign over the finish line.
  • The event, scheduled for Wednesday on Capitol Hill, is projected to rack up $75,000 for Debbie Lesko's campaign, sources told CNBC.
In this Jan. 27, 2018, file photo, Arizona State Rep. and U.S. Representative candidate Debbie Lesko speaks with a constituent during the meeting of the state committee of the Arizona Republican Party in Phoenix.
Matt York | AP

As the special election battle in Arizona's 8th Congressional District heats up, the Republican nominee in the race is bringing in a big player, House Speaker Paul Ryan, to help push her campaign over the finish line.

The event, scheduled for Wednesday on Capitol Hill, is projected to rack up $75,000 for Debbie Lesko's campaign, sources close to the former Arizona state senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNBC.

With an entrance fee of up to $2,500, the funds are expected to go directly to the campaign, the sources said.

Representatives for Lesko and Ryan declined to comment.

The Lesko moneymaking event comes right on the heels of two potentially game-changing incidents for the special election, which is scheduled for April 24. The race began after Republican Rep. Trent Franks abruptly resigned in December following sexual misconduct allegations.

On Tuesday, Hiral Tipirneni, a doctor running as a Democrat in a district that has traditionally voted for Republicans, got some good news from an outlier poll showing her leading Lesko by one point.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Getty Images

Tipirneni also outraised Lesko in the first quarter of 2018, mainly due to small-dollar donors. The Democratic candidate hauled in $434,000, and the Republican drew $367,000, according to campaign filings.

A representative for the Tipirneni campaign did not return requests for comment.

For a district that President Donald Trump won by 21 points, Republicans haven't left anything to chance. GOP groups have given about $700,000 combined to support Lesko's efforts. That includes a recent splurge of $280,000 from the Republican National Committee.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have seemingly abandoned Tipirneni's attempt to end the GOP's reign in the district, with little money coming from the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm for Democrats running in the House.

Still, the Republicans need a special election win after failing to maintain a Senate seat in Alabama and a House seat in Pennsylvania. In both of those instances, the GOP threw money at the campaigns, but the efforts did not stick with voters.

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