An Indian-American cancer research scientist, Hiral Tipirneni has lost narrowly in the special election for the House of Representatives from a Republican stronghold in Arizona, US media reported on Wednesday.

An emergency room physician and a Democrat candidate, Tipirneni was trailing by more than 9,000 votes and six percentage margins against Debbie Lesko of the Republican Party in the eight Congressional districts of Arizona, when reports last came in.

Lesko, a former Arizona state senator, will replace former Congressman Trent Franks, a Republican who resigned in December amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Official results were yet to be declared, but several local media outlets had projected Lesko as the winner.

“I am going to take this job very seriously,” she said in her victory speech.

The very fact that the Republican victory margin was in single digit, in a district which they had been representing since early 1980s, and which was won by Trump in the November 2016 presidential elections by 21 per cent margin, reflects the fast slipping ground for the GOP.

Tipirneni had given sleepless nights to her Republican opponent in Arizona. She was expected to replicate surprising wins of Democrats in Alabama, Pennsylvania and other states where opposition to President Donald Trump’s policies have boosted their chances in Republican strongholds.

Tipirneni’s parents came to the US from India when she was three-years-old. A bout of typhoid fever as a child inspired her to become a doctor specialising in emergency medicine, and she is a powerful advocate for affordable health care coverage for all.

Lesko and Tipirneni are likely to headed for a face off in the November Congressional elections.

The two have already said that they would be filing the paper work. The primaries is scheduled for August 26.