Former Giffords Aide Ron Barber Wins Special Election for Her Seat
Democrat Ron Barber, a former aide to Gabrielle Giffords who was injured in the shooting that nearly took the ex-Arizona congresswoman’s life, won the special election to replace her on Tuesday.
With 66 percent of precincts reporting, Barber led Republican Jesse Kelly 53 percent to 45 percent. The AP has called the race for Barber.
The contest was the last congressional special election before November’s general election, leaving both sides to mine the results for clues about what might work in November and who might have momentum on their side.
Giffords survived an assassination attempt in January 2011 and resigned her seat in Congress earlier this year to focus on her recovery. She supported Barber and campaigned on his behalf, but she played only a small role in the battle for a conservative-leaning southeastern Arizona district.
Instead, the race centered on Barber’s ties to the national Democratic Party and, more importantly, Kelly’s past statements about overhauling the nation’s entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare.
The Democratic strategy appeared to have paid dividends in what is a Republican-leaning district. Barber’s win comes mostly as a result of Democratic efforts to define Kelly early on as being anti-Medicare and anti-Social Security in the 11th-oldest district in the country. In their ads, Democrats ran footage and quotes of Kelly