Giffords aide will run to fill her seat in special election

Alexis Levinson | Political Reporter

Ron Barber, a former top aide to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, announced Thursday that he will run in the special election to finish out her term.

Giffords resigned last month in order to focus on her recovery after she was shot last year. Barber was also shot in the face and the leg that day.

The Associated Press reported that while Barber will run in the special election, he is not expected to run again for a full term in November.

“Our community needs someone who will put politics aside and solve problems for the people of Southern Arizona,” Barber said in a statement released Thursday. “My commitment is to be honest with the people of this district and help restore civility to our public life. My first priority won’t be the next election — but the next generation. That means balancing the budget the right way by protecting Social Security and Medicare, creating jobs, and securing our border.”

Barber set up a nonprofit after the shooting called the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding. Its mission, according to its website, is “to sustain and build upon the outpouring of good will, compassion and kindness that the community responded with after the tragic event on January 8, 2011.”

Before serving as a Giffords aide, Barber worked at the Arizona Department of Economic Security as an administrator in the division of developmental disabilities.

Three Republicans have announced they will run for the seat, both in the special election and the general election. They are Jesse Kelly, who ran against Giffords in 2010; Dave Sitton, a Tuscon broadcaster; and State Sen. Frank Antenori.

Democratic State Rep. Matt Heinz also plans to run for the seat, but said he would wait to run in the general election in November if Barber runs in the special election.

The special election primary is scheduled for April 17. The special election itself will be held on June 12.

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