Palin makes Arizona stop as candidates work to shore up last-minute support

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

GILBERT, Ariz. -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made a stop in the East Valley Monday to endorse a Republican congressional candidate on the eve of the primary election.

Palin was in Gilbert at Joe's Farm Grill stumping for former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams, who is going up against former Congressman Matt Salmon for the Republican nomination in Congressional District 5.

"I am so happy, so proud to be able to stand here beside your next U.S. Congressman Kirk Adams," Palin yelled to an enthusiastic big crowd, who gathered early on a scorching August day to catch a glimpse of the former vice presidential nominee.

She spoke for about 10 minutes before joining Adams to serve barbecue to a long line of adoring fans.

Salmon, Adams' opponent, seemed unfazed.

"I've never lost a Republican primary and, frankly, I feel like this is the best position I've been in in any of the primaries I've run," Salmon said on a break from phone banking Monday afternoon.

While Palin brought star power to the CD5 race, it is not the only one to watch.

Tuesday will mark the end of a nasty battle between incumbents Republicans Ben Quayle and David Schweikert in CD 6 in which Schweikert has called Quayle "an embarrassment" and Quayle has branded Schweikert "Dishonest Dave."

In the new Congressional District 9, voters will decide between three Democrats and six Republicans vying for their respective nominations.

In CD 1, which covers parts of Northern Arizona, incumbent Rep. Paul Gosar will go up against State Sen. Ron Gould.

One of the more vitriolic races has been for the Republican Senate nomination to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl. Rep. Jeff Flake and Mesa businessman Wil Cardon spent much of the summer trading barbs, although the attacks seem to have slowed in recent weeks.

On the state level, recalled former Senate President Russell Pearce is trying to win back a spot in the state Legislature. He faces Mesa businessman Bob Worsely, best known for creating the in-flight catalog SkyMall, in legislative District 25.

3TV will have full coverage of the primary results as they come in Tuesday night.