Democrats close to majority win of Arizona's 9 House seats

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PHOENIX (AP) - Democrats picked up a southern Arizona congressional seat and tried to grab the majority of the state's nine seats to help the party wrest control of Congress from Republicans. But the state's Republicans could still keep a 5-4 majority if they pull off an upset in the sprawling 1st District.

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, beat Republican Lea Marquez Peterson in the 2nd District, which covers parts of Tucson and spreads east through the more conservative Cochise County. Democrats held the district until Martha McSally beat Democrat Ron Barber in 2014, but McSally is now running for Senate in a race that was too close to call late Tuesday.

Two other districts now held by Democrats were eyed by Republicans, but the 9th District in metro Phoenix went strongly for a Democrat. Former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton beat Republican and former Navy physician Steve Ferrera in that race to replace Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who faces McSally.

That left incumbent Democrat Tom O'Halleran in a tight race against Republican Wendy Rogers in the 1st District covering northern and eastern Arizona. The two traded leads as the night wore on and the race remained too close to call late into the night.

The Senate election is the top race in Arizona. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey soundly beat his Democrat education professor challenger, David Garcia. A Ducey-backed ballot measure to expand the state's voucher system and a ballot measure supported by Democrats seeks to boost renewable energy use were both rejected.

Kirkpatrick touted her vote for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and her credentials as a moderate Democrat. Peterson leads the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is a businesswoman.

Another closely watched House was a rematch of an April special election held to replace a Republican who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations. Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko won that 8th District race by 5 percentage points against Democrat Hiral Tipirneni and won again on Tuesday.

Five other Arizona congressmen whose districts have heavy partisan registration advantages, two Democrats and three Republicans, easily won new terms.

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