The race to elect a successor to Gabrielle Giffords, who resigned her congressional post in late January, is heating up. Giffords made an appearance at a campaign stop for Ron Barber on Saturday.
* Giffords appeared at a concert to honor volunteers who signed up for Barber's campaign, according to KVOA. The former representative said "Thank you very much" to attendees as she received a standing ovation.
* Giffords' husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, told the crowd. "It was incredibly hard for her to resign. And the person she knew could represent this district like she did is [Barber]," Kelly said, according to CNN.
* Barber was with Giffords during the assassination attempt in January 2011 and was injured. Kelly also said, according to Politico, "This is about more than the next election. This is about closure,"
* Whoever wins the special election will serve six months. Current district lines will be redrawn for the general election in the fall. In the current Eighth District, Republican voters hold a 6 percent advantage over Democrats.
* The mood at the gathering in Tucson was lighthearted. Barber and his Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly, have traded attacks in advertising and on TV. NPR states a PAC supporting Kelly has used an image of the former Marine holding a gun. Barber was shot twice during the rampage that took the lives of six people.
* The message from the Move America Forward PAC said next to the image, "Send a warrior to Congress." Kelly's campaign told NPR the race is not about Giffords' recovery. Instead, the focus should be about jobs and the economy.
* Barber and Kelly will be running for two positions in the coming months. Both want the current Eighth District seat and are in the Aug. 28 primary for the new Second District. If both survive the primary, they will meet again in November.
William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics. Born in St. Louis, Browning is active in local politics and served as a campaign volunteer for President Barack Obama and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.
- Politics & Government
- Gabrielle Giffords
- Mark Kelly