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Keihne Concedes CD-1 Republican Primary to House Speaker Tobin

Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

The first congressional district now has a Republican candidate. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Eagar rancher Gary Kiehne conceded after concluding he could not make up the more than 300 vote lead that House Speaker Andy Tobin has over him. Campaign aide Chris Baker said Kiehne’s efforts were hampered by the fact this was a three-way primary, with state Rep. Adam Kwasman also in the hunt.

“You know, Adam was free to run. But I think having Adam in the race made the course to victory more complicated for us,” Baker said.

Baker acknowledged that Kiehne did try to build on one thing that differentiated him from the other two: They were politicians. But he said that only goes so far.

“The reality is most primaries, and most primary voters, make decisions based on ideology. And Adam, given where he was as a conservative, you know, we had to share that space with him,” Baker said.

But, Baker said Kiehne will back Tobin in the general election when he tries to oust incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.

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