PHOENIX — It’s official: Martha McSally has defeated Democratic incumbent Rob Barber in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.
It took more than a month to decide the tightly-contested race after a margin of 161 votes triggered an automatic recount. Barber lost by just 167 votes.
McSally, a former Air Force colonel, ran on the promises of balancing the budget, securing the border and working toward bipartisan cooperation in Washington, D.C.
The gap between McSally and Barber was miniscule. A technical glitch in Cochise County cause a delay in the full results on Election Day.
A hot issue during the race for the district was gun control, as both candidates said they are supporters of the Second Amendment but both have been victims of violence commonly associated with guns. Barber was injured in the mass shooting that nearly killed Gabrielle Giffords and McSally said she was once a victim of stalking.
This point of contention came to a head during their first debate, when McSally criticized an ad run by Barber’s supporters that featured a mother of a girl who was stalked and shot to death, which McSally found offensive.
Barber had held the seat, which represents the southeast corner of Arizona and the eastern two-thirds of Tucson, since 2012 when he took over for Gabrielle Giffords after her assassination attempt. He won the seat in a special election. He then won the seat again in the 2012 general election by defeating McSally.
Throughout his campaign, Barber’s primary focuses were keeping taxes low for the middle class, protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits and speaking up for service members.
The Washington Post rated Barber’s seat as the second-most vulnerable incumbent position in the nation.