U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake has defeated Wil Cardon for the Republican nomination for the Arizona Senate seat.
The Associated Press called the race at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The polls closed at 7 p.m.
Cardon, a businessman, launched an expensive and unexpectedly feisty campaign against Flake for the seat. Although Cardon in the past month has backed off his aggressive television ads and taken a more positive tone, the campaign had been marked by accusations of hypocrisy, broken promises and flip-flopping positions on the emotional issue of immigration.
Flake, a six-term congressman, will now face Democrat Richard Carmona, a former surgeon general under President George W. Bush.
Both Flake and Cardon said the infighting during the GOP battle will only strengthen the GOP the ticket.
"There is an advantage to having been vetted and having things out there," said Flake.
"Certainly if you haven't had this kind of race, it takes a while to learn how to do it. So I think we're battle tested and ready to go," he continued.
"I think it makes better candidates," said Cardon, when asked about the tough battle during the GOP primary.
"Because no matter who is running, they're going to have to be vetted. Now Carmona will have his turn and we'll see how he does," continued Cardon.
Arizona hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate since Dennis DeConcini won his third term in 1988, but Democrats are hoping the costly primary attacks will make it easier for Carmona to win the November general election.
The push by the moderate Carmona comes as the GOP is fighting to pick up four more seats to wrest control of the chamber in advance of votes on key policy issues such as possibly repeal of President Barack Obama's healthcare law and changes to the tax code.
The seat replaces retiring Republican Sen. Jon Kyl.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.