Republican challenger Martha McSally grabbed a 36-vote lead overnight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber in the rematch of a congressional race decided by less than one percent of the vote in 2012. McSally trailed Rep. Barber after the initial early ballot numbers from Congressional District 2 were released Tuesday night. But those numbers did not include early ballots from Cochise County, the conservative portion of District 2 McSally won with 59 percent of the vote in 2012. Late Tuesday night the Cochise County elections website posted this message: “Due to technical difficulties the early ballot counting machine did not match the hand count. Therefore, early ballots are in the process of being delivered to Graham County where they will be counted by their equipment.”
“We’ve seen a similar trend we saw in 2012, not to say that’s a predictor of 2014,” McSally told 9 On Your Side around 10:30p.m when she still trailed. “Look we just need to let the process go and get the Cochise County ballots in and let every vote be counted.”
While voters await the results from the recount of Cochise County’s early ballots, the results are in from all 145 precints in Tucson and Pima County. Rep. Barber’s margin of victory in that area of the district was about 4,300 votes, compared to more than 10,000 in 2012.
“We’re the third most expensive House race in the country because the outside forces really wanted this seat. Let me tell you something: we’re ahead now and we’re going to win this race,” Barber said, addressing supporters around 10p.m. when the results showed he was ahead 52-48 percent.