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Democrats have held on to the Arizona congressional seat that Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick vacated to run for Senate.

Tom O'Halleran defeated Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu on Tuesday in the 1st Congressional District.

Babeu had scant support from national Republicans in the Democratic-leaning district spanning Flagstaff to the Tucson suburbs.

With 73 percent of precincts reporting, O'Halleran was leading Babeu 50.2 to 44.2 percent. That margin was wider in Coconino County, with O'Halleran leading Babeu by nearly 2 to 1 (26,724 to 14,767) with 57 percent of votes counted.

He was dogged by allegations that he oversaw a Massachusetts boarding school where students were abused. He also faced fallout from the 2012 congressional race he quit after scantily clad pictures he posted on a dating website surfaced and a former lover accused him of threats. Babeu was cleared of the threat allegations.

O'Halleran had his own issues to overcome. He was a Republican in the state Legislature from 2001 to 2009, ran for House as an independent in 2014 and registered as a Democrat last year.

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