Ron Barber will remain the representative for Southern Arizonans. He narrowly defeated Republican Martha McSally, who conceded the CD2 race on Saturday afternoon.
McSally, a former Air Force pilot, who did little actual campaigning in Arizona but spent much of her time in Washington D.C. fundraising, never really connected to what was supposed to be her base. She was viewed as a “carpetbagger” by many Republicans as a result of her sudden appearance in Arizona almost immediately after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announced her retirement.
McSally, who had been living in Germany at the time of Giffords’s announcement, said that God called her to run in the Special CD8 race. McSally lost in the CD8 primary to Jesse Kelly, who then lost to Barber. Barber, a staffer for Giffords, ran at the time as a placeholder candidate. He quickly changed his mind, and announced that he would pursue the newly redistricted CD2 seat. Heinz supporters resented the fact that Heinz stepped aside for Barber in the CD8 race for the good of the Party, only to be betrayed by Barber in his decision to run for CD2.
Many Republicans saw McSally’s move into the CD8 race as “opportunistic” and reported that she “and her people tried to sabotage the race.” During the CD8 race, it was reported that she and her supporters were assisting Ron Barber against Kelly, in a strategy to secure her opportunity to face Barber in the CD2 race. Her former staff member, Sam Stone, actually got caught giving advice to a Barber campaign worker on how best to defeat Kelly. Stone was forced to resign from the campaign after it made his move made national news.
McSally contacted Barber Saturday before holding a press conference to announce her concession. She said the race for CD2 was an “amazing journey.” She told supporters on her Facebook page that she still has “a fire in my belly to make a difference and serve our community and country. I look forward to seeing where that call to duty takes me next.” Many of her supporters believe that it will not likely be in Arizona.
Barber and the powers-that-be in the Pima County Democratic Party had alienated many democrats due to their decision to block popular doctor and state legislator, Matt Heinz from running in the CD2 Democrat Primary.
According to an AP report, “as of Friday night, Barber was ahead by 1,402 votes out of more than 285,000 ballots counted. That gave the Democrat 50.15 percent of the vote to McSally’s 49.66 percent.”
“Ron has demonstrated that he cares about the people of Southern Arizona. More importantly he is from Southern Arizona and knows Southern Arizona,” said one Democratic Party insider.
Overall, there are more than 111,000 Arizona ballots yet to be tallied, according the the Arizona Republic.