U.S. Representative Ron Barber, an Arizona Democrat who was an aide to Gabrielle Giffords, faces a recount after his Republican challenger finished the race for a congressional border district with 161 votes ahead of him. Tea Party favorite Martha McSally claimed a razor-thin victory over Barber, who was struck by gunfire alongside Giffords in the 2011 shooting rampage that killed six people and injured 13 outside a suburban Tucson supermarket. But Arizona law requires an automatic recount because the final tally in the Second Congressional District left the two candidates separated by less than 0.1 percent of the total, in this case fewer than 200 votes after the Nov. 4 election.
McSally, a retired Air Force colonel and combat pilot who is making her third attempt to capture the House of Representatives seat Giffords vacated in 2012, declared victory on Wednesday night. “It’s time to move from campaigning to governing and working together to bring more opportunity here and move Southern Arizona forward,” she said in a statement.
Officials with her campaign did not immediately respond to calls on Thursday, while Barber’s spokeswoman Ashley Nash-Hahn said the incumbent has not conceded defeat. The election now moves to the courts, where the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office will ask a judge to order a recount.