U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar sailed to an easy victory over Arizona Sen. Ron Gould in the Republican primary Tuesday, making the transition from the 1st Congressional District to the 4th.
Gosar said he had been confident he'd win the race, and he criticized ads that the huge Club for Growth super PAC ran against him.
"Rural Arizonans saw through their rhetoric and lies," Gosar said.
Gosar had 51 percent of the votes by press time at 11 p.m. Tuesday compared to 32 percent for Gould and 17 percent for Lake Havasu City businessman Rick Murphy in the Republican race.
The Democratic CD4 race was too close to call, with Bullhead City teacher Mikel Weisser only about 50 votes ahead of Johnnie Robinson of Florence.
Gosar moved from Flagstaff to Prescott this year so he could run in the new Republican-dominated 4th District instead of the 1st District where slightly more Democrats live.
Gosar thanked his supporters during a short victory speech at about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday night at the Palace Saloon in Prescott, where more than 100 Republicans gathered for a victory party. His wife and two of their children also were there.
Gould, a Lake Havasu City business owner, touted himself as the stronger conservative and got strong financial backing from the ultra-conservative Club for Growth, which ran repeated TV and Internet ads attacking Gosar.
Some of the ads criticized Gosar for voting to raise the federal debt ceiling. Gosar has defended that action by saying he did it in exchange for $2.3 trillion worth of budget cuts and a vote on a balanced budget amendment. He was the only House member from Arizona to vote for raising the debt ceiling, although senators John McCain and Jon Kyl also voted that way.
Gosar shot back at Gould with a mailer saying Gould, Democratic U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are "peas in a pod" because they all oppose the budget plan put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan and Gould "opposes every conservative budget plan." Gould said he has not endorsed any federal budget plan, and he opposed state budget plans when he thought they spent too much.
Voters want their representative to negotiate for solutions instead of saying no to everything, Gosar said.
Early returns showed Gosar leading in Yavapai, Gila, Maricopa, Pinal and Yuma counties, while Gould was leading in his home county of Mohave and Murphy was ahead in La Paz.
Yavapai has the most Republican voters of any of the counties in CD4, and they voted strongly for Gosar. Preliminary numbers show Gosar getting 16,747 of Yavapai's votes compared to 5,477 for Gould and 2,848 for Murphy.