Jesse Kelly picked as GOP candidate in Ariz.'s CD8

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Associated Press

Posted on April 17, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 18 at 5:03 AM

PHOENIX (AP) — Voters in southern Arizona's 8th Congressional District picked Republican Jesse Kelly to face former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber in a special election to replace the wounded ex-congresswoman.

Kelly had about 38 percent of the vote Tuesday night and the margin was enough for The Associated Press to declare him the winner.

He beat three other GOP candidates — state Sen. Frank Antenori, retired U.S. Air Force pilot and political newcomer Martha McSally, and Tucson businessman and longtime sports broadcaster Dave Sitton.

Kelly is a businessman and tea party favorite who nearly unseated Giffords in 2010.

Giffords tapped Barber as her preferred replacement and he drew strong financial support and no challengers in the Democratic primary.

Barber and Kelly will face off in the June 12 special general election.

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