A GOP state lawmaker was the odds-on favorite to win a special election Tuesday to fill the congressional seat left vacant when Republican Christopher Cox resigned to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In Spokane, Wash., the mayor struggled to hold on to his job in a recall election over allegations he used his office computer to woo young gay men over the Internet.

State Sen. John Campbell was running to succeed Cox, who represented the Orange County district in the House for 17 years.

Cambpell faced third-party candidate Jim Gilchrist, a founder of the Minuteman Project border patrol group. Gilchrist made illegal immigration the centerpiece of his campaign, calling for thousands more guards to patrol the nation's borders.

Three other candidates were on the ballot: Democrat Steve Young, a lawyer who was given little chance in one of the most reliably Republican districts in the nation; Libertarian Bruce Cohen, a real estate broker; and Green Party candidate Bea Tiritilli, a schoolteacher.

Spokane Mayor James E. West tried to fend off allegations that he abused his office by offering a City Hall internship to an 18-year-old man he met in an Internet chat room.

West has denied any wrongdoing. He has not been charged with a crime, but FBI agents seized computers from his home as part of an investigation.

In a newspaper ad, he acknowledged making "personal mistakes" but insisted he had "never done anything to harm our city."