In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Romney-Backed AZ House Candidate Leads In Too Close To Call Primary

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AP Photo / Ross D. Franklin

With 99.6 percent of precincts reporting, Tobin was leading the two other candidates with 35.9 percent of the vote. Kiehne trailed close behind with 35.2 percent and Kwasman had 28.9 percent of the vote.

Tobin had the backing of the Chamber of Commerce and Mitt Romney among others. In the past week or so the Chamber of Commerce spent $300,000 worth of advertising on Tobin, according to Politico. Romney also recorded a robocall for Tobin. He was pushed by national Republicans as the single candidate in the primary who could beat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) even though Kirkpatrick is considered by some as one of the more vulnerable Democrats in Congress. Kwasman, meanwhile, had the support of the conservative outside group FreedomWorks.

In the weeks leading up to the primary Tucson Weekly flagged Tobin arguing that immigrants from Central America could bring the Ebola virus with them, even though the outbreak is contained in West Africa.

Gary Kiehne, a wealthy oilman rancher and member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys’ Association, was himself at the center of an eyebrow-raising moment in the primary when he was taped at one point saying that "99 percent" of mass shootings have been by Democrats. Kiehne eventually apologized.

Kwasman trailed the three candidates. TPM readers will recall, that Kwasman was the state lawmaker who made national headlines for accidentally claiming that a YMCA bus was actually a bus of immigrant children. He also, paradoxically, defended a high profile anti-gay discrimination bill in Arizona as making "no mention" of sexual discrimination.

About The Author

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Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.