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Kirkpatrick declared winner; other races still too close
PHOENIX (AP) — Former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick will head to Congress for a second time after defeating former Republican state lawmaker Jonathan Paton to win Arizona's 1st Congressional District seat.
Kirkpatrick had enough of a lead Wednesday for The Associated Press to declare her the winner.
The race had been considered a tossup and featured millions of dollars in ad spending.
"The voters in CD1 have spoken and I just have to tell you I feel humbled and honored to serve them again and it's time to get to work," Kirkpatrick said.
Paton declined to comment at length, saying he wanted to wait until all the outstanding votes were counted.
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said that as of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 602,000 early and provisional ballots statewide that had yet to be processed and counted.
"There's still lots of ballots out there to be counted, and we're going to go through that process," he said. "That's all I really am going to say about it."
The Phoenix area's 9th Congressional District was a virtual tie Wednesday between former Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Vernon Parker, a former mayor of the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley.
The state earned a ninth seat after the 2010 Census and was filling it for the first time on Tuesday.
The hand-picked successor to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords trailed a Republican political novice by a few hundred votes Wednesday in one of two razor-thin congressional races in Arizona that could drag on for several days as the final ballots are tallied.
Rep. Ron Barber, who was wounded at the January 2011 shooting in Tucson that forced Giffords to resign, said he still believed outstanding ballots could tilt the race in southern Arizona's 2nd Congressional District back in his favor. But if they don't, he respects the voters' decision.
"I'm perfectly at ease and at peace with the voters' decision about who they send to Congress," Barber told The Associated Press. "And if it's not me, then I wish my opponent, if she's our new member, every success because we have to get the job done. "
Retired Air Force pilot Martha McSally seemingly came out of nowhere to take the lead in the race late Tuesday. Barber won the early voting, while McSally dominated on Election Day.
-- From Associated Press reports