Navajo vote could factor into tight Arizona race

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- President Barack Obama greets listeners on a popular Navajo radio station in the tribe's language and implores them to vote for Democrats.

The party is trying hard to retain the seat held by U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. She needs Navajo voters who lean Democrat to turn out in droves Tuesday.

Her opponent, Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, has accused her of failing Navajo veterans on health care and not fighting hard enough for jobs in the coal industry.

Kirkpatrick has touted transportation and infrastructure projects on the country's largest Indian reservation, and funding for schools and the Head Start program. For her, the Navajo vote is the deciding vote.

Neither party has held the 1st District seat consecutively in the hotly contested race since Republican Rick Renzi left office in early 2009.