Former Navy SEAL Eli Crane managed to edge out three-term incumbent Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) in the contentious race for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, adding another House pickup for the Republican Party.
O’Halleran and Crane’s showdown had been widely viewed as a tight race that leaned Republican after redistricting transformed O’Halleran’s old 1st Congressional District into the 2nd District and rendered its contours more advantageous to Republicans.
Crane gained notoriety when he pitched a company on Shark Tank in 2014 that minted bottle openers shaped like grenades and bullets. He and his wife began the company in 2012 and later sold it in 2022 before his faceoff with O’Halleran.
Crane has trafficked in claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. The former president threw his weight behind the political newcomer, who managed to rise to the top of a crowded GOP primary back in August. Crane has blasted the “RINOs in Arizona for their refusal to decertify the 2020 election.”
“As a candidate running for US Congress in AZ, I’m calling on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election, along with enlarging the efforts to audit the remaining counties in AZ. Finally our AZ AG must launch a criminal investigation to hold all involved accountable,” he tweeted last year.
Calls to reinstate a focus on Election Day voting rather than early voting, strengthen the security of poll sites, enact more stringent voter ID laws, and end “unregulated mail-out balloting” had been a focus of his campaign.
Throughout their general election showdown, O’Halleran and Crane never had a televised debate. Apportionment had seemingly given O’Halleran the short end of the stick, crafting the district contours from an R+6 district into an R+15 seat, according to FiveThirtyEight’s redistricting analysis.
Reapportionment had added the conservative Prescott Valley to the district, which still stretches through the northeastern part of the state. Cook Political Report ranked the race as “lean Republican.”