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Jesse Kelly wins Arizona GOP primary in race to fill Giffords’ seat

Jesse Kelly won the Republican primary for Arizona's 8th Congressional District Tuesday and will now take on Democrat Ron Barber in a special election to decide who completes former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' term, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

With 28 percent of precincts reporting, Kelly had 38 percent of the vote -- ahead of retired Air Force pilot Martha McSally with 24 percent, State Sen. Frank Antenori with 21 percent and sports broadcaster Dave Sitton with 17 percent.

Kelly, a former Marine, said he had received calls from all three of his opponents conceding the race and they had who all pledged their support so we can "win back this seat in June," the Daily Star reported.

"Praise be to God, we just won our primary," he told supporters.

A special election will now be held June 12, and the newly elected representative from Arizona's 8th Congressional District will serve the rest of Giffords' term, which expires in January next year.

Giffords stepped down from her seat in January this year, declaring that she would focus on her recovery from a brain injury she suffered 12 months earlier when a gunman opened fire at a constituent event near Tucson, shooting her in the head and killing six others.

Barber, who served as Giffords' district director and took two bullets in the shooting, has been endorsed by the former congresswoman. He has already raised more than $500,000 for the June special election.

Both parties will hold primaries for the seat in August, ahead of the November general election.