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GOP strategy has two Arizona House Democratic seats in jeopardy

PHOENIX — The Republican Party has pumped millions of dollars into a pair of razor-thin Arizona Congressional races and it appears that strategy, coupled with President Obama’s low approval rating, is working.

The Republicans have zoned in on two races involving Democratic incumbents.

Part of the focus is on Ann Kirkpatrick, who will battle Republican Andy Tobin in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, and other focus is on the House race in the 2nd Congressional District between Democrat Ron Barber and Republican Martha McSally, who narrowly lost to Barber two years ago.

Mike O’Neil, host of KTAR 92.3‘s “Think Tank”, expects both races to be close.

“We’re talking about a handful of votes here,” he said.

O’Neil says the problem for Democrats is that their turnout is expected to be low.

“That takes a Democrat who won last time and puts them in real jeopardy,” he said. “Probably if people voted on the candidates themselves Barber and Kirkpatrick survive. But to the extent their opponents tie them to Obama it’s not a plus in the current environment.”

O’Neil says there’s a good chance the Republicans will regain control of the United States Senate.

Daniel Scarpinato, press secretary with the National Republican Congressional Committee, says approximately $23 million dollars has been spent by Democrats and Republicans just in television ads for the 1st and 2nd Congressional District races.

“Arizona has never seen this level of spending on House races,” he said. “These are coin flip type of races. Extremely competitive districts. It doesn’t matter who emerges from these races. These districts are always going to be competitive.”