Arizona Special Election Tops Tuesday Voting

Photograph by Will Seberger/Zuma Press

Gabrielle Giffords with Rob Barber at the Pima County Democrat HQ in Tucson two days before Barber squares off against J. Kelly to determine who will fill the seat vacated by Giffords in January.

The congressional primary season is in full swing, continuing today with intraparty voting in six states. Maine, Nevada, Virginia, South Carolina and North Dakota have primaries and Arkansas is holding runoff elections three weeks after its first-round primaries.

The biggest race today, though, is a special election in the Arizona congressional district that Democrat Gabrielle Giffords vacated in January, one year after sustaining serious injuries in a Tucson shooting. The contestants are Democrat Ron Barber, a longtime aide to Giffords who was wounded in the shooting, and Republican Jesse Kelly, who almost beat her in the 2010 election.

Polling stations close at 10 p.m. eastern time. The district is one of three without an incumbent in the House, where Republicans have 242 seats and Democrats control 190 seats.

In Maine, six Republicans and four Democrats are vying to succeed retiring Republican Senator Olympia Snowe. The major-party candidates will start as underdogs against Angus King, a political independent who served as governor from 1995 to 2003.

In South Carolina, there’s a nine-candidate Republican primary in the new 7th District in and around Myrtle Beach, and the winner will be favored to capture the seat in November. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will compete in a June 26 runoff. South Carolina was awarded a new district after above-average population growth in the past decade.

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