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Giffords leads in Congressional District 8 race

Early reports indicate Democratic former state representative and senator Gabrielle Giffords is leading Republican challenger Randy Graf in the race for the Congressional District 8 House seat.
With 45.1 percent of precincts reporting Ms. Giffords has received 55.7 percent of votes cast, compared to 40.9 percent for Mr. Graf, also a former state representative.
Ms. Giffords is calling for comprehensive immigration reform, including a guest worker program, workplace sanctions and improved relations with Mexico. Strides towards renewable energy and improved public education have also been a campaign theme for Ms. Giffords, a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Management.
A former state House Majority Whip, Mr. Graf has gained attention for his hard-line approach to illegal immigration and in Oct. he received the endorsement of Sen. John McCain who praised his voting record for supporting the military, reducing taxes and “reigning in election and welfare fraud, according to Mr. Graf’s Web site.
Ms. Giffords and Mr. Graf are competing for the CD 8 seat which was left vacant when Republican Jim Kolbe decided not to seek re-election.
Records of the Secretary of State’s Office show a slight Republican advantage over Democrats in the district. The GOP has about 145,000 registered voters, compared to 125,000 registered Democrats. However, there is a strong independent presence in CD 8, demonstrated by 98,000 voters registered as “other.” Libertarians also have about 2,300 members.
CD 8 spans all of Cochise County, northern and eastern Tucson, and eastern Pima and Santa Cruz counties.

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