GOP picks up 2 seats in AZ House delegation

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Voters changed the balance of Arizona's congressional delegation from heavily Democratic to majority Republican on Tuesday.

Republicans picked up two seats and will have at least five of eight Arizona seats in the new Congress.

Voters rejected another term in office for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in the 1st District and Harry Mitchell in the 5th District.

Tea party favorite Paul Gosar will take over Kirkpatrick's seat and David Schweikert will replace Mitchell.

In southern Arizona, Democrats Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva held thin leads in their districts late Tuesday, but the races were too close to call.

Republican Ben Quayle held onto a GOP seat being vacated by retiring Rep. John Shadegg, turning back Democratic challenger Jon Hulburd.

Voters re-elected Democrat Ed Pastor and Republicans Jeff Flake and Trent Franks by wide margins.

The Arizona results showed two things to Arizona State University political science professor Richard Herrera.

"The first thing I take away is that Democrats did not turn out in Arizona like they did in other areas, and that led to some close-race losses," Herrera said, noting that Nevada Democrats sent majority leader Harry Reid back to the Senate with a win of about five percentage points.

"And the second thing is that Arizona may very well just be coming back to where its natural location is ideologically, and that results in a five-three Republican congressional delegation."

Mitchell won the seat four years ago in a tight battle with former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who was tainted by association with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The district leans Republican, and Herrera said the voters swung back to the right during a Republican year.

"I think it was the message and a combination of frustration with a lot of voters feeling betrayed by the Democrat agenda, a Republican tide, the difficulties we're having in Arizona, it all came together at once," said Schweikert, who lost to Mitchell in 2008 but came out ahead on Tuesday. "Let's face it, elections are made up of a lot of moving parts.

Democrats won the majority of the state's congressional seats for the first time since 1966 in 2008.

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