Republican Rep. Martha McSally has defeated Democratic challenger Matt Heinz in Arizona’s 2nd District, The Associated Press projects.
McSally led Heinz 54 percent to 46 percent with 62 percent of precincts reporting.
Arizona’s 2nd District is located in the southeastern corner of the state and includes the eastern half of Tucson, the state’s second-largest city. The population, concentrated in Pima County near Tucson, is one-fourth Hispanic and majority white.
Two years ago, McSally, a longtime Air Force pilot and officer, unseated Democratic Rep. Ron Barber by a mere 167 votes out of more than 219,000 total votes cast, in the district formerly represented by Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.
In their lone debate, she tried to tie President Barack Obama’s signature health care overhaul law around Heinz’s neck.
“It doesn’t take a doctor to diagnose that Obamacare is not working,” she said, in what the Arizona Daily Star called a jab at her opponent, an emergency room physician. The health care law has been a big issue on the campaign trail in the Grand Canyon State, where there are just two remaining insurers and rising premiums in the marketplace the law established.
During her first term, McSally launched the GOP Working Group on Women in the 21st Century Workforce in August. Her goal is to examine the root causes of the barriers and challenges women face.
McSally was a pilot of Air Force A-10 “Warthog” attack jets, the first woman to fly a fighter jet in combat and the first to command a fighter squadron in combat.
Her district is home to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, where more than 80 Warthogs are based.
As an Air Force officer, she showed that she didn’t shrink from a fight. She battled the Air Force for a chance to be an attack jet pilot. Later in her military career, she sued the Defense Department and was able to overturn a requirement that women off duty in Saudi Arabia wear Muslim style garb.
With her Air Force experience and her assertive demeanor, McSally has become an acerbic critic of the Obama administration’s response to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.