Democrats Hold On To Arizona Congressional Seat
June 12, 2012

From @GabbyGiffords via Twitter
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords tweeted a photo of her casting a ballot for Ron Barber in Tuesday's special election to finish out her term.
Will Seberger/pool/ZUMA
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords celebrates with congressional special election winner Ron Barber on Tuesday in Tucson.

PHOENIX -- Democrat Ron Barber won Tuesday night's special election in southern Arizona. He’ll serve out former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ remaining six-month term after she was forced to retire following last year's assassination attempt.

Barber took the stage amid cheers and shouts. He promised to support veterans, military families and the middle class. But with Gabby Giffords standing beside him, he also took the opportunity to criticize the vitriol funded by political action committees, particularly super PACs, during the race.

"I say and we say, no to extreme politics. We say yes to working across party lines to secure a strong future for Arizona," Barber said.

Both national Republican and Democrat political action committees spent more than $2 million on this race, mostly in ads attacking the opposing candidate.

Barber, who was seriously injured in the same rampage in which Giffords was shot, beat Republican Jesse Kelly by a seven-point margin. He carried 52 percent of the vote. Kelly called him to concede. 

“Alright all, well, this stinks," he told supporters. "So I just called Ron Barber to congratulate him and, statistically, it’s his.”

Kelly narrowly lost a House race to Giffords in 2010.

Both men are already on the ballot for the August primary. They could face off again in the November general election.

Holding onto the seat has been a priority for the Democrats as they seek to regain control of the House in November.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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