***NOTE: THIS REPORT IS FROM THE 2012 ELECTION, dated Nov. 7, 2012. WE ARE RECEIVING CORRESPONDENCE THAT ERRONEOUSLY ASSUMES IT IS A November 2014 REPORT ***PLEASE REFER TO OUR HOME PAGE FOR THE CURRENT UPDATE ON McSALLY’S ELECTION PERFORMANCE IN 2014.
Conservative Martha McSally did something no conservative has done in distant memory: win a congressional district in Southern Arizona dominated for 30 years by leftists. She defeated incumbent Ron Barber, who won a special election in June to replace the retired Gabriella Giffords. The race is close enough for a recount. Note the Tucson Citizen’s view: Barber trailed, not McSally won.
Tucson Citizen report:
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Barber trailed GOP challenger Martha McSally for southern Arizona’s Congressional District 2. As of midnight, about two-thirds of the district’s precincts had reported results.
Barber, 67, has considerable name recognition after he won a special election earlier this year to finish the House term of Gabrielle Giffords, who stepped down to focus on recovering from a gunshot wound to the head. Barber is a former aide to Giffords.
Political newcomer McSally, the first American female pilot to fly in combat, made strides in courting female voters, veterans and independents.
Barber, who was also wounded in the Tucson shootings last year, joined Giffords’ staff in 2007 as district director. Before then, he managed state programs for the disabled in southern Arizona for three decades.
Since becoming elected in June, he has focused on military affairs and border security. His actions have sometimes led to criticism from both parties. He challenged Democrats when he supported suspending environmental regulations to allow U.S. Border Patrol agents to chase smugglers on federal lands. Republicans were critical of Barber when he opposed a vote to repeat President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan.
McSally, 46, is a retired Air Force colonel with two master’s degrees. She successfully overturned a Pentagon requirement that female personnel in Saudi Arabia must wear Muslim clothing off base. She moved to Tucson in 1994 on military assignment and retired from the military in 2010 after more than 20 years of service.
Congressional District 2 is in the state’s southeastern corner, a sprawling stretch of land that covers border towns as well as parts of Tucson. The area has elected Democrats to Congress in the past four elections, even though it has more registered Republicans. This year, with re-drawn district lines, the area still has a slight edge in registered Republicans as well as large numbers of independent voters. Even so, the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan publication that analyzes races, rates District 2 as leaning Democratic in this election.
McSally spoke to supporters in Tucson Tuesday night before the polls closed.
“We feel the energy is in our favor, and regardless of what happens, we ran with integrity, honor and authenticity,” she told a cheering crowd at the downtown Sheraton.
Democratic supporters gathered at the Tucson Marriott University Park to watch results. Tucson resident David Higeura described Barber as “one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met.”
Higeura worked at an office next door to Barber, when Barber served as an aide to Giffords.
“He would still be there at 9 or 10 at night, when I’d leave,” Higuera said.