Could Gabrielle Giffords’s Seat Go Republican?

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Rep Gabrielle Giffords tours the Gabrielle Giffords Family Assistance Center with Community Food Bank CEO Bill Carnegie on Jan. 23, 2012, in Tucson.

Arizona Republican voters will select a nominee today to run for Gabrielle Giffords’s old seat.

A special election on June 12th will determine who will complete Giffords’s unexpired term in the Tucson-area congressional district. Giffords resigned in January to concentrate on her recovery from a gunshot wound 15 months ago.

The four Republicans seeking her seat are Frank Antenori, a state senator; Jesse Kelly, a businessman and Iraq War veteran who lost to Giffords in 2010 by fewer than 2 percentage points; Martha McSally, a retired Air Force colonel; and Dave Sitton, a sports broadcaster.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Ron Barber, a former Giffords aide who’s the only Democrat running.

Candidates also are preparing to seek a full two-year term in a revised district that, as redrawn by the state’s redistricting commission, is about two percentage points more Democratic-leaning than the current district, which backed McCain over Obama 52-46% in 2008. It is one of three vacancies in the House of Representatives, which Republicans control by a 242-190 margin.

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