Arizona state Speaker Andy Tobin will take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick after his closest GOP primary opponent conceded the race Tuesday.
Tobin led rancher Gary Kiehne by less than 500 votes Tuesday, a week after the Aug. 26 primary, according to The Associated Press . The race remained too close to call when Kiehne stepped aside in a show of party unity.
"This was a hard-fought and very close election that we fell just short of winning," Kiehne said in a statement. "But that doesn't take away from how proud and grateful I am to my supporters for everything they did to help our campaign." Tobin led 36 percent to 35 percent for Kiehne. A third candidate, state Rep. Adam Kwasman, surpassed many GOP expectations by taking 29 percent of the vote.
The Tobin victory offers some relief for national Republicans. Missteps by Kiehne and Kwasman could have proved fatal in the general. That said, Tobin waged a weak campaign and this late primary date gives him little time to recover — politically and financially.
On his most recent federal campaign finance filing, he listed $82,000 in cash on hand. Kirkpatrick had more than $1.3 million.
But Tobin has the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a group likely to spend heavily on TV advertising across the country. And other national Republicans with deep pockets are closely watching how the race develops in the coming weeks.
The race is rated Tilts Democratic by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
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