Many of the state’s GOP Congressional candidates attended a Tea Party event in Tucson last week, where Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum appeared ahead of Tuesday’s Primary Election.

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Many of the Congressional candidates agreed with Santorum on the need for change, as they spoke to a capacity crowd of nearly 500 people at the Tucson Sabbar Shrine.

The event was hosted by the Pima County Young Republican Club.

Congressional District 1

Former State Sen. Jonathan Paton criticized Democrats for being responsible for the current congressional redistricting process, which he said was an admitted attempt by Democrats to rearrange the districts into a position to benefit them.

“I heard from a Democratic elected official, who said ‘We worked really hard to get the districts the way we wanted,’” said Paton.

Paton expressed little concern over the redistricting affecting a Republican’s chances of winning the election.

“The problem isn’t the line, the problem isn’t that they don’t have any candidates. The problem is they don’t have any good ideas,” he said.

Paton said the biggest threat to America is not immigration or spending, but the “constant assault on the Constitution of the United States,” by the current administration.

If elected, Paton said he would help take back everything the current administration has stolen from the public, including property, money, liberty, livelihood, freedom, rights, and the Constitution.

Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick is running in CD1. Kirkpatrick was in Oro Valley and Marana over the weekend.

Congressional District 7

There was a big applause for CD7 candidate Gabby Mercer when she criticized the current District 7 Rep. Raul Grijalva for being a socialist who is not only “anti-business,” but “anti-America,” having voted against the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mercer said the time has come to reintroduce a limited government that is committed to stopping runaway federal spending in Washington, which she said has nearly bankrupted the country.

Mercer called Obama a “communist” and invited the audience to fight with her to reclaim the American dream.

Congressional District 8

Republican Jesse Kelly is running for the second time for district 8th Congressional seat, after losing a close race to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2010.

Kelly said he is not a politician, but a Marine Corps veteran, who will fight for what he called “the greatest country in the history of the world.”

Kelly said he would never stand for a government that tramples on God-given rights.

On the topic of energy, Kelly said he finds it laughable when democrats talk about the energy shortage.

“We have everything we need right here,” he said. “Lord willing, we run out of politicians before we run out of oil.”

Kelly said the country was built on making something of oneself, and not simply being handed something by the government.

“We will fight for it, to the last man. We will never stand for a government this size, we will never stand for taxes this high. We have a clear path forward, and it’s not a time to be down.”

As a former Air Force pilot, Martha McSally said she is looking to bring her leadership into office to help cure the country’s debt, poor economy, and national security issues. McSally said the country is “under siege by the south, and under siege by the east- Washington D.C.”

McSally said economic stimulation comes from job growth.

“The federal government is not a jobs program,” she said. “The American spirit is a jobs program.”

McSally said she plans to take seriously the threat that comes with the border issues, including drugs, guns and money that are illegally coming into the United States. She added that the money spent is minimal in comparison to some of the other federal budget expenditures.

McSally said she has and will continue to stand up for the Constitution.

“Our vector in this country is going in the wrong direction. We need a pilot who’s going to lead us out of it. I am that pilot.”

As a former soldier of the Army Special Forces, Frank Antenori said he has, and will continue to fight communism and socialism. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, Antenori said he was honored to fight and kill those responsible for the attacks. Antenori said he is the only candidate that has fought enemies both overseas and in the political battlefields in America.

Antenori said he is also the only candidate in the entire country that has cut spending 22 percent while serving as state senator.

“I don’t pull punches,” he said. “This election will be over on June 12. On June 13, you will need someone that can hit the ground running.”

Antenori said he is familiar with the gimmicks and arm-twisting occurring politics, and that he is not running to “make friends,” but to “fight every step of the way.”

A 38-year resident of Tucson, Dave Sitton said he has the local edge over other congressional candidates. Sitton said he is an “American first, running as a republican.”

Sitton said Washington D.C. politicians feel their own ambitions are more important than the country’s. If elected, Sitton wants to cut federal spending and get the government out of the way.

“Young people should know there is more to life than waiting for a green check every two weeks, that their hopes and ambitions are going to be realized when they realize their own God-given talents.”

Sitton was met with applause when he said one of the first things he would do as a congressman is to support a national spending audit.

“Does anyone really understand what has been spent anywhere, on anybody, well intentions or not?” he said.

Sitton said he is a supporter of securing the border, but is willing to have talks about immigration.

The CD8 special election is on April 17, where the Republican candidates are looking for voter approval to go on to the June General Election where one of them will face Democrat Ron Barber.

Barber, an aide of retired Congresswoman Giffords, is running unopposed in the primary.

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