Rep. Barber opponent drops out, boosting GOP shot at Ariz. seat

Republicans’ chances of flipping Rep. Ron Barber’s (D-Ariz.) seat, one of the nation’s most competitive, just got a boost with the exit of one candidate from the GOP primary.

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Ed Martin, a former talk-radio host and horse-racing official, withdrew from the race late last week, according to the Arizona Republic. That will help retired Air Force pilot Martha McSally in the primary.

The favored GOP candidate, McSally is running for the seat for a second time.

Martin cited “unforeseen personal family challenges that ... will continue to require my undivided attention” in his statement announcing his exit from the race.

McSally now faces only businesswoman Shelley Kais, a former supporter of hers, in the primary. Republicans faced the prospect that a contentious primary fight could bruise McSally and draw resources prior to the general election, undermining her viability against Barber.

But with one less opponent, McSally’s path to the nomination becomes clearer. Her match-up with Barber was one of the last cycle’s closest races, and Republicans have high hopes for their chances this time around. 

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