In a special Arizona election that garnered widespread national interest for its symbolic significance and potential impact on the presidential race, a 66-year-old Democrat recovering from gunshot wounds defeated a 30-year-old Tea Party Republican and former Marine who had served in Iraq.
Clenching the hand of his grinning former boss,
Gabby Giffords, at a Tucson Marriott Hotel victory party, Ron Barber
celebrated his defeat of Jesse Kelly in a special election for
Giffords’s congressional seat. “This was never Gabby's seat. It’s not my
seat. It’s your seat. This seat belongs to the people of southern
Arizona,” Barber said in his victory speech in Tucson.
Giffords vacated her House seat in January after struggling for a year to recover from a gunshot wound to the head, sustained in a massacre in front of a Tucson-area Safeway store in January 2011. Six people died in the shooting spree, allegedly perpetrated by a mentally disturbed Tucson man. Ron Barber, who now walks with a cane, was among the 13 people who were injured but survived the rampage. (Giffords cited her ongoing recovery as her reason for resigning her seat.)