Barber Leads in Race to Fill Giffords’ Seat


Democrat Ron Barber has a solid lead in the race to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Barber leads Republican Jesse Kelly 53 percent to 41 percent, with 4 percent supporting Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis. 2 percent are undecided.

The seat in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District became open after the resignation of Giffords, who was gravely wounded in an assassination attempt on January 8, 2011. Giffords was shot in the head, and has undergone extensive surgery, hospitalization, and physical and occupational therapy in her ongoing recovery. She returned to the House on August 1, 2011 to cast a vote for the debt ceiling increase but did not resume her role full-time. Giffords resigned her seat on January 25, 2012, saying that her continued rehabilitation required her full attention, and that she could not therefore act as a representative for her district.

Barber worked as Giffords’ district aide from 2007 until her resignation. He has also run a small business and worked with the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities. Kelly is a veteran of the Iraq War who narrowly lost to Giffords in 2010. Kelly’s campaign came under scrutiny in the wake of the Giffords shooting, especially his use of gun imagery in his campaign literature.

The 8th District voted for John McCain by a 6-point margin in 2008, but the PPP poll showed the likely voters for the special election favored Obama in that election by the same margin. The poll indicates that Democrats are strongly motivated to hold on to Giffords’ seat, given the circumstances that forced her out of it.

“Democrats are likely to win this race comfortably tomorrow,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling, in a statement. “But the unusual circumstances of the contest make its relevance to any other contest later this year pretty limited. Itís not often you have a special election to replace an incumbent who resigned with a 67% favorability rating.”

The special election, which will be held on June 12, 2012, will determine the candidate who will serve out the balance of Giffords’ term. Most of the 8th district will become part of the 2nd District in the fall; both Barber and Kelly are candidates for the 2nd District seat.

The poll was taken June 9-10, 2012, and has a margin of error of Ī3.0 percent.


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Former Giffords Aide Will Run for Full Term, Too

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to Attend Husbandís Shuttle Launch on Friday


AP Photo of Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber by Matt York, Pool, File


Tim C.
Tim C5 years ago


Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y5 years ago

Kelly graciously conceded yesterday.

Arizona is not all that conservative. The cities are liberal/moderate, the countryside very red like Oregon. When I went to high school and college there it was much more 'purple' than it is now due to Arpaio and Brewer, who have made a career out of xenophobia.

We'll see what happens in the fall.

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda5 years ago

Good news.

Carol Byram
Past Member 5 years ago

And Barber is officially declared the winner!!!

Deborah F.
Deborah F5 years ago

I'm just glad to see Gabby up and doing!!!

Shawn P.
Shawn P5 years ago


Cristy Murray
Cristy Murray5 years ago

Good news!

Carol Byram
Past Member 5 years ago

Rocco S. put it all in a nutshell, but wait, there's more....there's just not enough room here to list it all. I live in Tucson and voted for Ron Barber early by mail. Arizona politics are a continual embarassment to me as well as make me nervous. Oh, and David J., I'm a woman and if Rocco S. had not called our governor leather-faced, I would have said she had a face like an elbow (and a mind like a rutabaga.)

Jerry Mayeux
Jerry Mayeux5 years ago

{ VOTE }

David J.
David J5 years ago

I wonder if Rocco S., the man who is worried about "bigoted" Republicans would have commented on the governor's complexion if she were a man.