Giffords Aide to Run for Seat in Special Election

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

PHOENIX (AP) - A top former aide to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announced Thursday that he will seek to replace her in a special election.

Democrat Ron Barber will seek Giffords' 8th Congressional District seat in a special election set for the spring. Barber was Giffords' district director and was wounded along with the congresswoman in a shooting rampage a year ago.

Giffords resigned from Congress last month to concentrate on her

It remained unclear if he will seek a full term in November, but he's not expected to do so. Barber's announcement said he's running in the current 8th Congressional District, but doesn't say whether he'll run in the fall in the redrawn 2nd Congressional District that will include nearly the entire current 8th District.

Barber was shot in the leg and face in the Jan. 8, 2011, attack outside a Tucson supermarket. Six people were killed and 13 wounded, including Barber and Giffords.

Just a month later, he announced he was setting up a nonprofit to fund school programs and community events. The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding sets out to emphasize positive aspects of Tucson.

"Our community needs someone who will put politics aside and solve problems for the people of Southern Arizona," Barber said in a statement Thursday. "My commitment is to be honest with the people of this district and help restore civility to our public life. My first priority won't be the next election - but the next generation. That means balancing the budget the right way by protecting Social Security and Medicare, creating jobs, and securing our border."

Barber, 66, is a former administrator in the Arizona Department of Economic Security's division of developmental disabilities. He retired in 2006 to work for Giffords.

The special election primary is set for April 17 and the general on June 12.

One other Democrat, state Rep. Matt Heinz, has announced his run for the seat. He has said he will not run in the special election and only run for a full term if Giffords aide Ron Barber runs to be in the interim replacement.

Three Republicans, 2010 Giffords challenger Jesse Kelly, Tucson
broadcaster Dave Sitton and state Sen. Frank Antenori are running in the special primary election. All the Republicans have said they plan to run in both the special and general elections.

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