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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Barber, McSally race too close to call


Democrat Ron Barber (left) passionately speaks to supporters and media members during his election party at the Tucson Marriott University Park on Tuesday. The 2nd Congressional race is still too close to call (Photo by Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat). Republican Martha McSally (right) talks with Arizona Public Media during Martha McSally’s election party at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites on Tuesday. McSally talked with many media members and supporters while awaiting the results to the 2nd Congressional race (Photo by Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat)

The race for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District between Democratic incumbent Ron Barber and Republican challenger Martha McSally did not produce a clear winner Tuesday night.

Midway through the polling, Barber had a significant lead in the race.

At that time, Barber gave an emotional speech to his supporters at an event at Tucson Marriott University Park organized by the Pima County Democratic Party.

Barber took the opportunity to point out the differences he saw in the way his campaign was run versus McSally’s.

As Barber spoke, his voice trembled and his eyes began to well up as he spoke about his campaign and the issues he wanted to tackle, including marriage rights, gender inequality, job creation and public education.

“We said from the very beginning this was going to be a campaign about policy, about issues and not about personalities,” Barber said. “We’re going to take the high road, not the low road. We’ve done that.”

McSally said at an event organized by her campaign at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites that there is nothing wrong with how she ran the race.

“We have no regrets,” McSally said.

Barber was certain he was going to win in spite of money spent on McSally’s campaign from outside Arizona.

“We’re the third-most expensive house race in this country because the outside forces really wanted this seat,” Barber said. “Let me tell you something: We are ahead now. We’re going to win this race.”That assertion became less of a sure thing as the night went on and McSally’s numbers drew closer to Barber.

McSally said this was not anything new for her.

“Closing the gap,” McSally said. “Story of my life.”

Barber warned his supporters of the possibility that McSally would ask for votes to be thrown out should the race become as close as the candidates’ previous contest in 2012.

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” said Barber. “We won’t let Martha McSally do what she did last time when she went to the courts in Cochise County and tried to get ballots thrown out from Douglas and throw them in the trash rather than have them counted. We won’t let that happen. We’re ready for that.”

McSally said she wanted every vote to be counted as well and asked her supporters not to give up too soon.

“Let’s make sure that every last vote that is cast is counted,” McSally said.

Ashley Nash-Hahn, communications director for Ron Barber for Congress, said one reason Barber could prevail is his connection to Southern Arizona.

“I think people support Ron Barber because he is a voice of Southern Arizona,” Nash-Hahn said. “He puts Southern Arizona first and that’s evident through the work he’s done.”

Barber supporters were jovial throughout the night with many expecting a victory for him and chanting his name as he took the stage.

Jonathan Rothschild, Tucson’s mayor, predicted a win for Barber.

“My gut is that Ron’s going to win,” Rothschild said.

Elisa Michales, a volunteer for McSally’s campaign, predicted a win for McSally and was excited about the race’s meaning for Arizona politics.

“We get a chance to show there’s a conservative side to Arizona politics,” Michales said.

Tucson Council Member Shirley Scott said she thought Barber would win but that it would be close.

“I think he’ll pull it off in the end, but I think it’ll be a close race, and I just assume that the Democratic base will support him,” Scott said.


Follow Max Rodriguez on Twitter.

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