Dems, Republicans make their picks in election to replace Giffords
Democrat Ron Barber (L) and Republican Jesse Kelly (R) will compete in the special election on June 12 to fill the House seat vacated by former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
April 18th, 2012
11:22 AM ET
3 years ago

Dems, Republicans make their picks in election to replace Giffords

(CNN) – Voters in Arizona's 8th Congressional District cast their ballots Tuesday in the primary ahead of the special election to replace former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The congresswoman resigned from her seat in January to focus on her recovery from the Tucson shooting that killed six and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.

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Ron Barber, longtime Giffords' aide who was wounded in the shooting, ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket and won with 98% of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Arizona Secretary of State's office.

On the Republican side, four candidates campaigned for the seat, with Jesse Kelly emerging as the winner with 36%.

A construction manager and Iraq war veteran, Kelly nearly defeated Giffords when he last ran for Congress in 2010, falling only two points behind in the final count with 46% to Giffords' 48%.

The two candidates, Barber and Kelly, will face off in the special election on June 12.

In terms of fundraising, Barber has far outpaced his Republican counterpart, taking in nearly $540,000, while Kelly has received more than $220,000 in contributions, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

If Kelly manages a victory, however, he will change the makeup of Arizona's House delegation to six Republicans and two Democrats.

While the 8th district has been represented by Giffords, a moderate Democrat, for the last three terms, it voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and for John McCain in 2008.

The Grand Canyon State has added a new 9th Congressional District due to population gains in the 2010 census. Campaigns are already underway for the seat, which will be decided in the House 2012 election cycle later this year.

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Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • House
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Marcuscassius

    There is no tie. The race is not close. The papers, the advertising doesn't sell when it's a slam dunk. Obama is far and away the leader. Even in the South voters are aware that a super rich mormon does not represent anyone but super rich Mormons. He's not a Christian. He's a cult member. One with no idea how the bulk of Americans live. Nor does he care. he happily fires people and closes business to increase his and his wifes Swiss accounts. We plain don't want him. Keep your fakey polls. We're not buying your advertising gimmicks.

    April 18, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Why are Republicans even running an opponent? The special election is June. The seat will be up for reelection again in November. The main reason why the seat is empty is because Giffords was injured on the job. Doesn't good sportsmanship exist within the Republican Party?

    April 18, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    Gee, looks like the Democrats are trying to BUY this seat! Hopefully all the Republicans will come out to vote and put Kelly in the seat and send DC a message.

    April 18, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Man

    Many of you posting comments are republicans; many of you are voting bsed on race not the job done. After the major issues left behind by Bush how can any of you honestly say Obama has not done a great job, we were on the verge of doom and God was right getting the right man in place. I gurantee 90% of you against this president is white I say that becasue I am white and you know what I am a white republican voting for Obama becasue Romney is terrible and if Bush was running, knowing what I know now it will still be Obama

    April 18, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. a little sad

    Rudy NYC

    "Doesn't good sportsmanship exist within the Republican Party?"

    I'm guessing – was this meant to be sarcastic?

    April 18, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    Rudy NYC - Why are Republicans even running an opponent? The special election is June. The seat will be up for reelection again in November. The main reason why the seat is empty is because Giffords was injured on the job. Doesn't good sportsmanship exist within the Republican Party?
    ===============================================================================================
    Are you serious? When have the Democrats ever not run a candidate because of "good sportmanship"? The seat has essentially been empty for over a year. Don't the people of Arizona deserve to be represented in Congress? Besides, the more Republicans in the House, the better. Ensures Pelosi never touches the Speakers gavel again which is a very, very good thing for the country.

    April 18, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    The Truth wrote:

    Gee, looks like the Democrats are trying to BUY this seat! ...
    ----------
    Are you sure about that?
    Barber run unopposed, won 98% of the vote, and racked up $540,000.
    Kelly beat out 3 others, won 36% of the vote, and racked up $220,000.

    Seems like to me that Barber has maxxed out at nearly full throttle. Kelly is cruising along with only 1/3 of the support. Kick in the other 2/3 and he should have $660,000. [it's called fuzzy math]

    April 18, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    a little sad wrote:

    "Doesn't good sportsmanship exist within the Republican Party?"

    I'm guessing – was this meant to be sarcastic?
    ----------------–
    Nope. But, your response was meant to be.

    April 18, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

    @The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth – "When have the Democrats ever not run a candidate because of "good sportmanship"? The seat has essentially been empty for over a year. Don't the people of Arizona deserve to be represented in Congress? Besides, the more Republicans in the House, the better."
    ---------------------------
    Other than your "more Republicans in the House, the better." comment – which we can agree to disagree on, the rest of your post is (for that once in a blue-moon occasion) something I agree with. However, more Repugs in Congress is merely going to take us back to the root cause of the mess we are in now – which is flagrant and blatant disregard of the ideology/dogma that USED to be central to the GOP. Unfortunately, the squeaky gate gets the oil, and as a moderate Independent, the Republican Party has been hijacked by the right wignut extremists and TP'ers. As long they remain the dominant voice of the GOP, I will vote AGAINST them (no matter the candidate) EVERY time.
    IOW – we need less extremism in BOTH parties and a LOT more negotiation/compromise. I lay most of this squarely at the feet of the do-nothing GOP Congressional delegate. The country is going hell in a hand-basket, and the GOP are on teh 19th hole sipping brewskies.... scheming on how to remove Obama.

    April 18, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    Rudy, I have to give it to you Bud! You are the MASTER of pullling together completely disparate and unrelated numbers to weave a liberal fairy tale. With a "talent" for numbers like yours, you could be working on the Senate's 3 year overdue budget!

    April 18, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |