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Gabrielle Giffords: Battle royale for her seat in Congress

Gabrielle Giffords: Republican Jesse Kelly faces former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber in a special election for Arizona's 8th Congressional District.

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Jesse Kelly, Republican candidate for southern Arizona's 8th Congressional District, with his wife Aubrey Kelly, in Tucson, Ariz, on Tuesday, April 17, 2012. Four Republican candidates are battling in a special primary election called after former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords resigned.

(AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, David Sanders)

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Voters in southern Arizona's 8th Congressional District on Tuesday night chose Republican Jesse Kelly to face former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber, a Democrat, in a special election to replace the wounded ex-congresswoman.

Barber and Kelly will face off in the special general election in June, but the two opponents have already started the war of words.

Barber said Kelly has "the wrong priorities" for southern Arizona's middle class families and seniors.

"He supports a radical tax plan that would increase taxes by 23 percent for middle class families. He's said that Medicare should be eliminated and Social Security should be phased out," Barber said. "I am running to rebuild southern Arizona's middle class... I think now the race is engaged."

IN PICTURES: Gabrielle Giffords, political survivor

Kelly said Barber is wrong and his focus is on cutting taxes, creating more jobs by building a stronger economy and lowering gas prices by opening up more federal lands to exploration.

He's proposed a 10-percent flat tax and said "every single American should pay the exact same tax rate."

"I think a majority of the voters like our plans," Kelly said after his win Tuesday night.

Kelly had about 38 percent of the vote and the margin was enough for The Associated Press to declare him the winner in the race. He beat three other GOP candidates — state Sen. Frank Antenori, retired U.S. Air Force pilot and political newcomer Martha McSally, and Tucson businessman and longtime sports broadcaster Dave Sitton.

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