Kyrsten Sinema, Vernon Parker race stays tight amid ballot concerns

PHOENIX - The battle between former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and ex-Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker for Arizona's 9th Congressional District continues to rage on as local agencies work to tabulate early and provisional ballots.

Parker and Sinema were locked in a near dead heat as ballots were counted late Tuesday, and continued in a close battle Wednesday.

As of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sinema's lead over Parker had jumped to more than 2,700 votes, according to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office. Hundreds of thousands of ballots are yet to be tallied.

The race to represent much of Tempe and parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa and Chandler featured two months of vicious campaign ads.

Parker has weathered Democratic criticism that he's a tea party radical who will hurt children by cutting the federal education department. Sinema has been called a radical too liberal for the newly created district.

Republicans have a slight registration advantage, but both parties' totals are exceeded by independents.

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