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Democrats Hold Seat in S. AZ Special Election

Gabrielle Giffords and Ron Barber Elex night 0612.jpg
Will Seberger
ZUMA (pool)

Democrat Ron Barber won the special election Tuesday. He’ll serve out former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ remaining six month term after she was forced to retire following last year's assassination attempt. 

Last night, Barber took the stage amid cheers and shouts.

He promised to support veterans, military families and the middle class.

But with former Representative Gabby Giffords standing beside him, he also took the opportunity to criticize the vitriol funded by super PACs during the race.

I say and we say, no to extreme politics," Barber told the cheering crowd. "We say yes to working across party lines to secure a strong future for Arizona."

Both national Republican and Democrat political action committees spent more than $2 million on this race, mostly in ads attacking the opposing candidate.

Barber beat Republican Jesse Kelly by a seven point margin. He carried 52 percent of the vote. 

Kelly expressed his disappointment, telling his supporters, "Alright all, well, this stinks. But, I just called Ron Barber, it looks like it’s all his. So I just called Ron Barber to congratulate him and statistically, it’s his.”

Both men are already on the ballot for the August primary. They could face off again in the November general election.


Senior Field Correspondent Michel Marizco (Tucson) has reported along the Southwest border for the past decade, most of that in Arizona and Sonora. Before joining the Fronteras Desk, he produced stories in the field for CNN Madrid, the BBC, 60 Minutes Australia, and the CBC. His work now focuses on transnational trafficking syndicates, immigration, federal law enforcement and those weird, wild stories that make the U.S.-Mexico border such an inherently fascinating region. He is a contributing author on Shared Responsibility: U.S.-Mexico Policy Options for Confronting Organized Crime and an occasional writer at High Country News. In his spare time, he works with Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, assisting in the ongoing investigations of journalist killings in Mexico.
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