3 Battle for opportunity to unseat Ann Kirkpatrick

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Voters in a congressional district that runs from Flagstaff to the Tucson suburbs are choosing from among three Republicans battling Tuesday for a chance to take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the general election. In Phoenix, voters are choosing a Democratic successor to longtime Rep. Ed Pastor.

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman and rancher Gary Kiehne are seeking the Republican nomination in 1st Congressional District. It's a swing district that already is attracting big money from national parties.

Tobin says he's a proven leader. Kwasman contends he's the most conservative in the group. Kiehne has been outspent by both but has argued that people in the vast district don't need to be represented by career politicians.

The 7th Congressional District race is led by former state Rep. Ruben Gallego and one-time Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. With no Republican in the race and a little-known Libertarian, whoever wins Tuesday's primary is expected to secure the job in the November general election and succeed Pastor.

Gallego said his experience growing up poor, being the first in his family to go to college and serving in the military will keep him focused on curtailing the cost of higher education, making sure veterans get timely health care and improving the lives of people in the district.

Wilcox said her longtime service in the district means she knows the issues better than Gallego. Her support of gun buybacks, criticism of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and development of youth programs should resonate with voters, she said.

A win for retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally in the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District would set up a rematch of a tight 2012 race between her and Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, an aide of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was wounded during the 2011 mass shooting at a political event in Tucson.

The 9th Congressional District race has two Republicans - retired Air Force pilot Wendy Rogers and former Arizona State and NFL quarterback Andrew Walter - hoping to ultimately unseat Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

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