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Former Giffords opponent wins GOP primary

TUCSON, April 18 (UPI) -- Jesse Kelly, who narrowly lost to former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in 2010, claimed victory Tuesday in a Republican primary to replace her.

With about 55 percent of precincts counted in the Tucson-area district, Kelly had 37 percent in a four-way race, the Tucson Sentinel reported. Martha McSally, a retired Air Force pilot whose first run for office attracted national attention, was second with about 24 percent of the vote.

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Kelly, an Iraq War veteran backed by the Tea Party, will be opposed by Ron Barber, a former Giffords aide. Barber was wounded in the 2011 shooting that left six people dead and Giffords with a major head injury.

A recent poll showed Kelly ahead of Barber by about 4 percentage points.

"We're going to work like we're down 10," he promised as he claimed the nomination at about 10 p.m.

Giffords, a moderate Democrat who has represented the district since 2006, remained in Congress during her months of rehabilitation at a Houston hospital. She resigned in January, saying she wanted to focus on her recovery.

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