Gabrielle Giffords' Ex-Aide Ron Barber Elected to Fill Former Congresswoman's Seat

Ron Barber, a former aide to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was elected yesterday to finish the remainder of Giffords' term.

Giffords resigned from Congress earlier this year to focus on her recovery after getting shot in the head during last year's shooting rampage outside a Tucson grocery store. Barber also was wounded during the shooting.

With all of precincts reporting in Arizona's Eighth Congressional District, Barber, a Democrat, won with 52 percent of the vote to Republican Jesse Kelly's 45, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State's Office.

Barber effectively had been handpicked by Giffords and her husband, while Kelly had barely lost the election to Giffords in 2010 during the otherwise upset-loaded Tea Party wave elected to Congress during that midterm election cycle.

Barber raised more than $400,000 more than Kelly in this special election, as a few of the national committees on both sides of the aisle spent in favor of their candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Since Barber's taking over Giffords' term, he doesn't have much time guaranteed as Congressman -- the term ends in January.

This fall's election for a full term likely will include many of the same players, as Barber's expected to face a primary challenge from state Representative Matt Heinz.

Voter turnout on Tuesday was a little over 47 percent.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley