Arizona Republicans make final push for governor

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Several candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Arizona governor spent the last day before the primary election on the campaign trail, with candidates visiting gun ranges, restaurants and other businesses for rallies as they sought to get undecided voters to back them.

Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith had three events scheduled with Gov. Jan Brewer Monday as she tries to rally support for the candidate she is backing to be her successor.

Meanwhile, former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones was campaigning at a gun store in Mesa, one of a series of events she's held at gun-themed locations as she tries for the conservative vote.

State Treasurer Doug Ducey, who has painted himself as the front-runner in the race and cites a broad coalition of business and political leaders as supporters, was not on the campaign trail. Spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney says he's instead holding private meetings, conducting treasurer business and spending time with his family.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett scheduled a final campaign event Monday evening at a Flagstaff restaurant. Former Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas also was not holding campaign events Monday, but former California congressman Frank Riggs was holding a final `victory rally' at a gun range in Dewey.

Voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide a winner in the GOP governor's primary after the candidates and their backers have collectively spent more than $10 million on the race. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Democrat Fred DuVal is unopposed in his primary and will face the winner in November.

Ducey and Jones plan to attend the state GOP's election night party at a downtown Phoenix hotel, and Brewer plans to attend as well. Smith plans his own event in Mesa, while Bennett will be at his Phoenix campaign headquarters watching ballot returns and may head to the main GOP event.

Whoever wins the gubernatorial primary will need to act quickly to heal a party that has been divided by the primary fight. Ducey, Jones and Smith have each been hit with attack ads, which can turn off voters.

Brewer said last week after an event for Smith that she hopes the party unites after the primary, no matter who wins.

"We all know that during a primary, things get kinda hot and heavy and a lot of things are said," Brewer said. "And after Tuesday night, I hope we can all come together and be Republicans under one tent. That's what I would strive for."

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