Sinema, Parker battle in Arizona's CD9 race

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX (AP) -- The bruising battle between former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and ex-Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker for Arizona's 9th Congressional District showed no signs it would end easily.

Parker and Sinema were locked in a near dead heat as ballots were counted late Tuesday. Sinema was just slightly ahead and thousands of votes were still to be counted.

The race to represent much of Tempe and parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa and Chandler featured two months of vicious campaign ads.

Parker has weathered Democratic criticism that he's a tea party radical who will hurt children by cutting the federal education department. Sinema has been called a radical too liberal for the newly created district.

Republicans have a slight registration advantage, but both parties' totals are exceeded by independents.