Ron Barber wins special election
Gabrielle Giffords’s hand-picked candidate, Ron Barber, has won the special election to serve out the rest of her term in Congressional District 8.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Barber had 52 percent of the vote, up 6 points over Republican opponent Jesse Kelly, with most early ballots counted, according to unofficial election results.
The perennial swing district is unique in having a nearly even registration split among Republicans, Democrats and independents, with a slightly greater GOP registration lean. The district went for Republican Sen. John McCain for president in 2008 and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010 but voted into office Giffords, a Blue Dog Democrat who was conservative on budget issues, three times.
The district that includes parts of Tucson, Sierra Vista and U.S.-Mexican border towns like Douglas has long dealt with issues like border security and immigration.
Kelly plans to continue running for Congress through the August primary, despite having lost two races already.
Analysts warned against reading too much into the election results. Last winter’s shooting created extraordinary circumstances, and special elections generally have low turnout.