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Thread: UPDATE: McSally Wins Congressional Seat, Recount Confirms

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    UPDATE: McSally Wins Congressional Seat, Recount Confirms

    UPDATE: McSally Wins Congressional Seat, Recount Confirms

    Story by AZPM Staff

    DECEMBER 17, 2014

    U.S. Rep.-Elect Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

    This story will be updated throughout the day, including interviews with McSally and Barber.

    Republican Martha McSally won the seat in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District, the recount confirmed Wednesday. It was the last congressional race to be decided in the country.

    McSally beat one-term Democratic incumbent Ron Barber by 167 votes in a contest declared final 43 days after the election. That is six votes more than the margin McSally held when the vote count was completed originally.

    The final totals were 109,714 votes for McSally and 109,547 votes for Barber, a margin of 0.08 percent. McSally had 50.04 percent of the vote, and Barber 49.96 percent.

    McSally and Barber were scheduled to give interviews to reporters later Wednesday. McSally released a statement calling for healing in the district over the closeness of the race and praising Barber for his work.

    "There's no getting around that this was an incredibly close and hard-fought race," McSally's statement said. "After what's been a long campaign season, it's time to come together and heal our community. That's why my focus will be on what unites us, not what divides us, such as providing better economic opportunity for our families and ensuring our country and community are kept safe."

    She thanked Barber "for his service over many years to Southern Arizona. I'll be seeking his input to continue strong constituent services and help ensure a smooth transition."

    In his own statement, Barber congratulated McSally and promised to work for a smooth transition.

    "Today I congratulated Martha McSally on her victory, and wished her well in serving Southern Arizonans," Barber's statement said. "This result is not the one we hoped for, but we take solace in having spoken out loud and clear for the principle that every legal vote should be counted."

    That was an apparent reference to Barber's legal team seeking, unsuccessfully, to have about 133 disqualified votes counted. His statement of concession indicated he won't pursue further legal challenges to the outcome.

    The race went to a recount because the margin between the two candidates following the Dec. 1 certification and canvass was fewer than 200 votes.

    Secretary of State Ken Bennett, whose office supervised the recount in Pima and Cochise counties, announced the results on his Twitter account at 10:07 a.m. Wednesday.

    McSally's victory gives Republicans 247 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, to 188 for Democrats. That is the largest number of seats held by one party in Congress since 1928, the National Republican Congressional Committee said in a statement.

    McSally has been through congressional freshman orientation sessions already, including meetings with Republican Party congressional leaders and getting her committee assignments.

    It was her second round of orientation. The retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot undertook the orientation in 2012 when the outcome of her race against Barber was still in doubt. She lost to him by 2,400 votes.

    McSally said after this year's election that the time between then and now allowed her to get more up to speed on the issues and to take a more critical look at Barber's record.

    She campaigned on her military leadership experience, her desire to protect military installations in the Southern Arizona district and to bring about economic improvements and better border security. She criticized Barber and his record on all those issues and more.

    U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz.

    Barber campaigned on what he said was his record of protecting middle-class families and seniors, going against his Democratic Party for the good of the district and insisting that border security be determined by the people who live along it. He criticized McSally for her stated support of a 2012 GOP budget proposal that would have cut Medicare and privatized Social Security.

    McSally, 48, was the first woman to serve as a combat pilot and the first woman to command a fighter unit, the 354th Fighter Squadron of A-10s at Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

    She won a lawsuit against the Pentagon in 2001, ending the requirement that U.S. servicewomen wear traditional religious garb when off base in Saudi Arabia.

    She was born in Rhode Island, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned a master's degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She served 22 years in the Air Force, retiring in 2010.

    McSally first ran for Congress in the 2012 special election to fill the seat vacated when Democrat Gabrielle Giffords resigned. McSally lost the Republican primary to Jesse Kelly, who subsequently lost to Barber in the June 2012 balloting.

    She won the Republican primary that fall before losing to Barber in the November 2012 general election, for which the vote count took 11 days to reach a conclusion.

    Barber, 69, directed Giffords' district office during her five years in Congress. He, Giffords and 17 other people were shot, including six who died, outside a suburban supermarket Jan. 8, 2011 at a Giffords' meeting with constituents.

    He won the 2nd Congressional District seat over Kelly in the June 2012 special election to complete what was Giffords' third term, and he won the general election over McSally that fall.

    Before working for Giffords, Barber was director and program manager of the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities in Tucson.

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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Border security, jobs are priorities for newly elected McSally

    Rebekah L. Sanders, The Republic | 7:10 p.m. MST December 20, 2014

    Republican Martha McSally takes office next month as Arizona's first Republican congresswoman.

    The retired Air Force colonel clinched her historic win last week after a recount in a grueling race for southern Arizona's 2nd Congressional District. She defeated U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., by just 167 votes.

    Shortly after the outcome of the recount was announced, McSally spoke with The Arizona Republic about her dash to set up new House offices, priorities for her freshman term and how to heal rifts caused by the bitter campaign. The interview has been edited for clarity.

    Q: Congratulations on your victory. It's been such a roller coaster. How did you hear the results?

    A: Oh my gosh. Here we are, the last race in the country to be decided. What an ordeal!

    We had attorneys in the courtroom. They texted my campaign manager with the results. I was here at the office with my team. We already had an election night party until two in the morning, then we had a victory party eight days later, so for the recount announcement, we just had our small team of staff here.

    We're definitely very relieved and humbled and honored that it's finally over.

    Q: You attended freshman orientation two years ago, when your race with Barber was close, as well as this year. What was it like to attend a second time?

    A: It was a little different because the counting was over, and we had won. But there was still the recount. It wasn't final. But I was cautiously optimistic.

    Q: You take office Jan. 6. What must you do to prepare?

    A: It's challenging enough to set up a congressional office in approximately eight weeks between Election Day and swearing in. I didn't have time to concentrate on the things I needed to do to make sure we are up and running, the baton gets handed off and constituent services are not interrupted. Without being able to be 100 percent sure about the election, it was a little challenging. I've done everything I could up to this point without a certificate of election.

    We will start making some initial staff hires. I do have my chief of staff picked and will be announcing that soon. We've also done some initial interviews for district director and will have more of those. We're not going to have every position filled right away.

    We are transitioning into office space in D.C., Tucson and Sierra Vista. There are equipment issues. There are lease issues. There's handing over constituent-services cases and making sure those people that came to Congressman Barber for help, those cases are being moved forward. There's a lot of mechanical issues such as websites and social-media accounts.

    Q: In your statement about the victory, you pledged to heal the divisions caused by the tough campaign. How do you plan to create unity?

    A: Forty-nine percent of the people didn't vote for me, right? And I'm going to be doing everything I can to represent this entire community. I'm reaching out to the demographic of the community that didn't support me. I'm making sure I sit down with community leaders to show them who I really am, not just what they saw in commercials.

    I want them to know that they have an avenue and that I am a solutions-oriented person. That I am dedicated to serving the community and the country. I'm going to be focusing on the things that unite us, not the things that divide us.

    Q: What are your policy priorities for your freshman term? What issues do you want to hit the ground running with?

    A: The main two issues for people are economic opportunity and security. That's not a Democrat or Republican issue. People are looking for job opportunities, and small businesses are wanting to grow. We need to protect Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Fort Huachuca. Addressing border security is important. Those are the main issues I heard from the voters.

    I'm going to support pro-growth economic policies that are going to help the struggling middle class and the working poor, who are continuing to be squeezed. I'm going to work with our state, county and local officials to make sure we're moving the boulder up the hill together.

    There is an opportunity for me to lead on border security. This is one of only nine border districts, and I'm on the Homeland Security committee. I've been talking to the chairman of the committee about getting people out here to see it first hand.

    Although border security has gotten better, we need a better strategy. We need Border Patrol at the border using the technologies that we have. The Border Patrol is 10, 20, 50 miles inland, as opposed to actively focusing their foot patrols and vehicle patrols at the border. We've got to push them to be more present at the border.

    Q: Anything else you'd like to say?

    A: I am very thankful to Congressman Barber for the service that he has given for so many years to this community. He did call me and was very gracious. He congratulated me and said he is committed to working together for a smooth transition. I'm thankful for his service. I do want to honor him for that as we move forward. And I certainly want to sit down with him and get his perspective.
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