Kolbe wins Arizona Republican primary
Openly gay U.S. representative Jim Kolbe, the senior House member from Arizona, cruised to the nomination for an 11th term in Tuesday's Republican primary, easily turning aside a challenge from state representative Randy Graf. With 99% of the eighth congressional district's precincts reporting, Kolbe led Graf 57% to 43%. "We do have some satisfaction in winning by this margin," Kolbe said in claiming victory. He said it reaffirmed his contention that voters "want practical solutions to problems," including a guest worker program to help solve the problems of illegal immigration besetting the state's border region. "The message that I've heard is that people are frustrated, and I understand that," Kolbe said.
On the strength of balloting in Pima County, which has the bulk of the district's voters, Kolbe didn't have to worry even though Graf, a conservative legislator from Green Valley, polled well in rural Cochise County. Graf had posed the most serious party challenge for Kolbe in more than a decade. On the Democratic ballot, retired assistant attorney general Eva Bacal hammered opponents Tim Sultan, a former aide to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Jeffrey Chimene, a computer consultant, in winning her party's nomination to take on Kolbe in November.