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Wednesday, June 13,2012

Democrat Ron Barber Retains Gabby Giffords’s Arizona Congressional Seat

Former Giffords aide Ron Barber beat his Tea Party opponent in an election that was far less close than predicted. Democrats said the victory is a good omen for Obama, but Republicans attributed it to sympathy for the wounded former congresswoman.

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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.)

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