Democrat Ron Barber (AZ), has defeated his Tea Party opponent, Jesse Kelly, in a special election to fill Gabrielle Giffords’ seat in the House of Representatives. With 66 percent of the precincts reporting, Barber led Kelly by 53 percent to 45 percent, and Kelly conceded the race.
The former manager of Giffords’ Tucson office, Ron Barber was seriously wounded in the same assassination attempt that nearly cost the Congresswoman her life. Six others died in that attack last year. Giffords resigned her seat in the House earlier this year in order to focus on her recovery. She asked Barber to run in the special election, feeling he would best serve her Arizona constituents.
Back in 2010, Giffords narrowly defended her seat in District 8 from Republican candidate Jesse Kelly. Kelly’s words from that campaign came back to haunt him this time around; he had promised to end entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Given District 8’s sizeable senior population, Kelly tried to disown that position in the current run, but to no avail.
Barber will be sworn in to complete Giffords’ term, which ends in January, 2013. In November’s election, District 8 will no longer exist because of redrawn boundaries. Most of it will be replaced by the newly reapportioned District 2, where Barber and Kelly may square off once more. Both men have declared their candidacy for that district’s Congressional seat.