Barber edges McSally for win in Congressional District 2
Rep. Ron Barber flew back to Tucson from Washington D.C. on Saturday morning and held a press conference in his campaign office to announce that he will be serving a full term in Congress as the representative of Congressional District 2.
His challenger, Martha McSally, called Barber on Saturday afternoon to congratulate him on his victory, despite there still being provisional ballots to be counted, 26,000 of them from Pima County as of Friday afternoon. The election was too close to call the night the polls closed.
“I was very excited and relieved because it was a toss-up there for a little bit,” said Erik Lundstrom, president of the Young Democrats of Arizona and a political science senior.
Barber and McSally ran a close race while an unprecedented number of provisional ballots have been counted since Election Day. Barber led by 1,402 votes on Friday night.
Zoey Kotzambasis, vice president of the UA College Republicans and a political science sophomore, said she was disappointed but not surprised that McSally conceded the race to Barber.
“Historically, Pima County is much more liberal than the rest of the state and so it made sense that those were likely going to be Democratic votes,” Kotzambasis said.
Barber issued a press release Saturday thanking those who helped in his campaign and emphasizing the importance of fixing the economy.
“We must rebuild our middle class and strengthen our economy,” one section of the press release said.
A Facebook post from McSally on her campaign page said that while the results were not what her team hoped for, she was proud of the campaign they ran and that she will continue to serve her country.
“While this particular battle is over, I still have 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,” the statement read.
Lundstrom said he expects Barber to continue the tradition of moderation he’s already set up in Congress. Kotzambasis said based on the short term he’s served as Gabrielle Giffords’ replacement, she doesn’t expect much productivity.
Both Lundstrom and Kotzambasis said they expect Barber, as a border district representative, to be a major voice for immigration reform. A faster citizenship process is necessary in order to fix immigration problems in Arizona, Kotzambasis said.
“I think that he will definitely push for that and be a leader in Congress over immigration reform,” Lundstrom said.
Barber won with 50.15 percent of the vote, while McSally held 49.66 percent. Kotzambasis said she wasn’t expecting such a close race.
“I was actually very pleasantly surprised for how close this election was,” Kotzambasis said. “No matter what, both candidates … ran a good race.”