Eli Crane, the candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the red-heavy 2nd Congressional District, beat Democratic incumbent Tom O’Halleran, according to a call by the Associated Press.
After ballot results were released last night, Crane came out victorious with 54% to O’Halleran’s 46%. Crane secured a lead from the start and only strengthened his margin over O’Halleran as results came in.
O’Halleran served three terms in the 1st Congressional District, which saw a bipartisan split. But after redistricting at the beginning of this year, O’Halleran was tasked with winning over the Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District.
Chuck Coughlin, longtime political analyst and CEO and President of HighGround Inc., said the 2nd Congressional District is set to be a “safe Republican district for some time.”
Coughlin noted the sheer size of the district and said Crane will be tasked with creating a strong constituent services office across the board.
He projects some of Crane’s challenges may lie in creating strong relationships with the Navajo Nation and Hopi tribes. O’Halleran made tribal relations a priority during his time in office.
“My impression was (O’Halleran) got a lot of compliments from local governments and people he worked with,” Coughlin said. “It’ll be interesting to see if that ethos continues on with Mr. Crane.”
O’Halleran conceded on Wednesday and released a statement thanking his staff.
“An essential part of democracy is a peaceful transfer of power, at every level of government,” O’Halleran said. “There’s no denying that my team and I are incredibly disappointed in these results.”
Crane’s approach to policy contrasts O’Halleran’s record in the legislature.
O’Halleran served as co-chairman of the centrist Democratic Blue Dog Coalition and has generally kept a more moderate position during his time in Congress.
His policy priorities are water, natural resources, Social Security and Medicare, as well as education and broadband expansion for rural and tribal communities. He also voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in the House.
In the past legislative session, he voted in support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, CHIPS and Science Act and the Equality Act.
O’Halleran co-sponsored and voted in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, which sought to prohibit government restrictions on access to abortion services.
Crane, a businessman, former Navy SEAL and political newcomer, stuck with America First policy and received an endorsement from Trump.
According to Crane’s website, he is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and, “unafraid to take a stand against cancel culture and the radical left.”
He subscribes to claims the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and supports ending “unregulated mail-out balloting,” and enacting stricter voter ID laws and harsher penalties for anyone, “caught harvesting ballots or found guilty of voter fraud.”
Crane has also hammered in border policy as one of his key issues. Like many of his America First counterparts, he characterizes immigration issues as “an invasion” and wants to finish the border wall.
He calls vaccine and mask mandates “tyranny” on his website. He also is against cancel culture and wants to ban critical race theory.
Crane released a statement on his victory.
“The America First movement has once again sent a clear message tonight to the people of Arizona and the nation. Now begins the real work of this country we love back on the right track,” Crane said.