An attorney for Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) is raising the prospect of a long, drawn-out battle over control of his Tucson-area district, a seat once held by his former boss Gabby Giffords, as his contest with Republican Martha McSally looks increasingly likely to head to a recount. Kevin Hamilton, Barber’s legal counsel, said Wednesday that the campaign isn’t taking “anything off the table” in potentially challenging the outcome of the race when it’s certified next month. “There are lots of potential options. There is the ability to file an election contest under state law. There’s a recount that goes forward, and as we’ve seen in other states that can affect the outcome of the election,” he said. “There’s a range of options and we’re not taking anything off the table.”
McSally, as of the last vote tally, leads Barber by just 161 votes, a margin that will trigger an automatic recount after the state certifies the vote Dec. 1. But Barber’s campaign has identified more than 130 ballots in Pima County they say were illegitimately thrown out, and say there are likely others. The campaign attempted to delay the vote certification in Pima and requested those ballots be included, but the request was denied Tuesday. And while they’re pursuing another delay in the district’s other county because of similar ballot issues on Thursday, Democrats admit they’re not optimistic it will be granted.
Democrats won’t publicly address the prospect of pursuing legal options in the race, and Hamilton declined to comment specifically on what those options might be. But he at times compared the situation in Arizona’s 2nd district to Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) 2008 reelection legal fight, which dragged on for more than eight months.