Republican candidate Vernon Parker and Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
The bruising battle between former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and ex-Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker for Arizona's 9th Congressional District continued into Wednesday morning.
Parker and Sinema were locked in a near dead heat as ballots were counted. Sinema was ahead by just 1 percentage point with 60 percent of the precincts reporting. She had 76,967 votes to Parker's 74,866.
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 who doesn't understand stay-at-home moms.
Republicans have a slight registration advantage but both parties' totals are exceeded by independents.
District 9 consists of all of Tempe, some parts of Chandler and Mesa and a small part of Scottsdale.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation) contributed to this report.